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City council rejects upzoning proposal

City Council voted unanimously against rezoning a parcel comprised of two areas between W. Spring St. and W. Walnut St. at the latest council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, dealing a blow to the development company who intended to redevelop the area.

The councilors agreed the upzoning proposal to change the zoning from General Business (GB) and Residential Office (RO) to Single, Two, or Three Family Mile Square Residential (R3MS) did not follow the comprehensive plan for the city's development and it did not make sense to make an exception in this case.

"I appreciate that the developer tried to speak the language of our plan, but I think they misinterpreted the meaning of it," councilor and Miami University professor of geography David Prytherch said.

Opus development company intended to use what would have been the rezoned land for a student housing complex. They also had plans in the works to purchase the university's former food services building that is now abandoned.

Councilor Chantel Raghu asked the Opus representative what would happen to those plans if the upzoning proposal failed to pass.

"I'm not prepared to comment on that right now," Ben Angelo, the representative from Opus, said.

Oxford mayor Kate Rousmaniere said council would be open to talking about adding housing developments to the city in the future if they were meant to house the growing senior citizen population.

"It makes more sense to address the silver tsunami," Rousmaniere said. "High school student enrollment numbers have been declining across the country, so I don't see enrollment numbers at the university growing soon. I see and hear about apartments that aren't being filled [in town], but it's hard to judge."

In the meeting, council also voted unanimously to approve Rapid Fired Pizza's request for a wine permit. The plaque given to Oxford by its sister city of Differdange, Luxembourg, was presented by Prytherch and the councilors had a photo op with the piece "that will most likely find a nice place in our new city hall," Prytherch said.

The next city council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 2.


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