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City council approves Oxford comprehensive plan

At Oxford City Council’s Jan. 17 meeting, council members unanimously approved the Oxford Tomorrow comprehensive city plan.

The plan was helmed by the Oxford Planning Commission, which was assisted by MKSK Studios, a Columbus consulting firm.

Sarah Lilly, one of the MKSK consultants and a Miami University graduate, introduced the plan at city council’s Jan. 3 meeting.

“The Oxford Tomorrow comprehensive plan is truly a community-driven vision for the future of Oxford over the next 10 years and beyond,” Lilly said. “We engaged community members through a number of different methods throughout the process.”

Events included open houses where members of the community were invited to interact with commission members and give feedback on the most important parts of the plan, with 345 people participating throughout the three public input meetings.

During council’s public participation, Ann Fuehrer, consulting facilitator for Oxford Citizens for Peace and Justice, applauded the plan’s civil engagement while also asking citizens for continued engagement. 

“I agree that [the plan] is elegant and detailed and having over 800 members of the community and 30 steering committee members participate in putting it together really does signal the importance of public involvement,” Fuehrer said. “That said, the role of the public is not done.”

The 149-page comprehensive plan has eight elements, including land use and development, mobility, housing, economy, sustainability, culture and recreation, community well-being and utilities. Each element contains actions to achieve goals related to the element, with 162 actions in total. The plan also highlights which goals are community priorities.

“This is a long-range plan, but the work of governance is also trying to roll with opportunities,” Councilor David Prytherch said. “We have plans and then you also just have to act strategically, so I think it’s going to be a little bit of walking with our minds up here but also with our eyes toward [the end] and that might get messy sometimes too.”

The new comprehensive city plan replaces the one created in 2008. That plan did not include sustainability goals. The new plan also focuses on more clearly defining future land usage.

All councilors were in agreement, each voting yes to the comprehensive plan, which will take effect Feb. 16. The plan will focus on working with community priorities such as improving city water softening and promoting renewable energy sources, with the planning commission choosing goals annually for the year.

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“Thank you to the staff for shepherding us through this whole process,” Mayor Bill Snavely said. “I think it’s a really good example of working with the public.”

Oxford City Council will meet again at 7:30 p.m on Feb. 7, 2023, in the Oxford Courthouse.