OXFORD, Ga. - The Oxford City Council voted Monday to delay approval of Oxford College of Emory University's conceptual plans for Pierce Street until the changes can be discussed further.
Kendra Mayfield, associate director of programs at the college, presented the plan to the council at its May 1 meeting. The college’s plans for the corridor from Emory Street to Wesley Street call for constructing a monumental sign at Emory Street, visitor parking lot access, new trees to fill in between the existing oaks, new curbs, sidewalks and gutters, new plantings and benches. The plan also calls for the removal of existing gravel parking spaces along the north side of the street.
Several citizens voiced their concerns about the loss of the parking spaces adjacent to Allen Memorial Methodist Church.
Mayfield also told the council about the college’s intention to construct a surface parking lot on property at 805 Whatcoat St. where a house was recently demolished. According to documents presented at the meeting, entry to the parking lot would be available from Whatcoat Street or from church property.
Acknowledging citizen concerns about the loss of the parking spaces adjacent to the church, Mayor Jerry Roseberry asked if the parking lot would be built prior to the removal of the street parking and if the number of spaces gained from the new parking lot would outnumber the spaces being lost.
Mayfield said the parking lot will be built before any of the work on the street begins. She also said she did not know the exact number of spaces in the lot, but there will be more than the number being lost from the street.
Councilman David Eady advised Mayfield that construction of the parking lot would require a zoning change- either an amendment to the city’s zoning ordinance or a change to a different zoning district. Mayfield told the council that she had been told something different by the planning commission.
“Actually, I went to the planning commission last month and I asked for zoning to be changed,” she said. “And they said it was not necessary for this use.”
“That’s not accurate,” Eady said. “The ordinance is clear. If something is not a permitted use specifically, it is a prohibited use.”
Councilman Jim Windham said any zoning change request would need to go before a public hearing.
Eady made a motion that the request be tabled until it can be further discussed at the council’s next work session, scheduled for May 15. The motion was approved unanimously.