By Kyle Hayden, Design Editor
Recently, Trinitas Ventures LLC, a developer from Lafayette, IN, pushed a proposal for a 192-unit, 668-bed development on Southpointe Parkway (right across the street from Level 27) through the Planning Commission to City Council.
Aside from having the logo of an evil corporation from a Pixar movie - the well-mannered proposals by Travis Vencel (VP of Development at Trinitas) and subsequent hearings were underlined by the gnawing feeling that something just wasn't right.
Trinitas is involved in an ongoing lawsuit against the City of Oxford for a settlement that would also allow them to then have their development.
The Chairman of the Planning Commission, David Prytherch, voted through the development with the "legal gun to [his] head," in a meeting on Sept. 8.
The developer is sadly within its legal rights to forcibly enact what it wants. But, it is the very development of this land that contradicts how the planning commission wants to see Oxford grow. I side with the Planning Commission. I do not want to see leapfrog developments that encourage car use, developments that produce huge parking lots and isolate people from the centers of towns and activities. Vencel wrongly asserted that they expect more bike use on Route 27.
How? Vencel has never tried to ride a bike up the hill into Oxford on Route 27. With the recent widening of 27, the speed limit will increase. No one is riding a bike into Oxford from Southpointe Parkway. No one.
Mostly what shocks me about this development is the lack of public outcry. Everyone will subsequently complain about it, but they will not do anything now to stop it. Only Kathleen Zien was there to be the watchdog, revealing that the developer had lied in their original proposal by saying the development was not to be student housing.
To Robert Benson, who sits on the Planning Commission: you are an architecture professor, a professor of architectural history. How could you -in good conscience - approve these plans without any voice to reason?
We already have a surplus of housing - students should be packing into the Mile Square (they already do, but even more densely) or just outside of it and walking everywhere.
Dear reader, this may be the only time of your life you get to experience what it's like to be able to walk everywhere and not deal with a car and parking the car and worrying about the car. Oxford is great like that.
These developments are not only harmful to the character and feeling of Oxford, but to the mission and purpose of having a Planning Commission staffed with people experienced in geography and architecture. These developments just pretext the "commute to work" lifestyle that many people have to experience in cities across the country. But we keep doing it to ourselves. These "leapfrog" developments insist that it's OK to complain about of a perceived shortage of parking.
We don't need more parking.
We need more people living closer to campus: walking, biking or taking the bus.
This means not approving these developments that no one wants except the developer.
There is a City Council Meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sep. 5 at the Courthouse on High Street. The address is 118 W. High Street. The above-discussed item will be on the agenda.
Dear reader, if you care about your city, you will come out with me and tell City Council you think it's bullshit that wealthy developers can stomp on small cities that don't want their developments.