Candidates running for Oxford City Council don't differ on much. They are all largely in agreement that Oxford's historic residential character should be preserved and that industries should be prohibited from further encroaching upon the city's limits.
The differences between their candidacies are much more subtle - such as their stance on housing moratoriums or the city's relationship with Oxford College.
Three of the five candidates running for Oxford City Council (candidates for Council Post 3 incumbent Hoyt Oliver and challenger Toby Malcolm and candidate for Council Post 1 Frank Davis) responded to a candidate survey of questions supplied by various civic organizations and compiled by The News.
While their responses were largely similar on a number of questions such as support of plans to build a town center with new government buildings, the candidates differed in their answers to a question from Smart Growth Newton on what they believe the largest challenges to be coming from growth.
Oliver, a retired professor of religion from Oxford College, listed keeping the college and the city "connected and coordinated" through future growth as one of his top concerns. He also listed putting ordinances in place to allow for "appropriate mixed-use of large tracts of land east of Emory Street" as well as the development of the town center.
Malcolm, a warranty supervisor, wrote that traffic on Ga. Highway 81/Emory Street was his biggest concern followed by controlling city water and utility rates and the city's growth overall.
Davis, a community activist for school tax breaks for the elderly, wrote, "We must ensure that our water and electric system is adequate to supply the needs of the city. This may include replacing the old water pipe in Emory Street."
Davis also listed traffic on Ga. Highway 81/Emory Street as a concern and suggested re-routing traffic off the street and on to Ga. Highway 142 and the Bypass.
The candidates differed most strongly in their responses to a question from Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful on whether they would support a moratorium on new construction while the county and municipalities assess available water resources during the drought.
Wrote Malcolm, "I strongly agree with a building moratorium, at least on these 100 plus subdivisions. The county needs to stop and think not only about our water supply but our schools, fire department and police. We have enough housing just sitting now, that you don't want to see it become rental property."
Oliver wrote he would consider it as a possibility, but only after further research.
Davis wrote he didn't think a moratorium on buildings would be necessary as the market place would stop the rapid growth of housing on its own.
All three candidates wrote that they were against further large commercial and industrial development and that they liked the Oxford mixture of houses, churches and schools the way it is.
Oliver, in fact, strongly objected to the placing of large industries to the east and west of the city.
"We in the city of Oxford are most unhappy at how Newton County and the city of Covington are allowing industrial, commercial and crowded residential developments immediately adjacent to Oxford on the east and west, ignoring and over-riding our protests," Oliver wrote.
To read the full responses from Oliver, Malcolm and Davis to the candidate survey which contains questions from Smart Growth Newton, The Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful and FaithWorks, visit this story at www.covnews.com and go to the Oxford sub-link under News.