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City Council works to combat climate change and a growing population in Oxford

<p>Oxford City Council&#x27;s April 4 meeting formally introduced Ashlea Weddle, Oxford Police Department&#x27;s social liaison since August 15.</p>

Oxford City Council's April 4 meeting formally introduced Ashlea Weddle, Oxford Police Department's social liaison since August 15.

At Oxford City Council’s April 4 meeting, councilors focused on sustainability and housing. Council also introduced an ordinance expanding the range for towing services that can respond to Oxford police calls and passed two ordinances advancing the project for Butler County Regional Transit Authority’s multi-modal facility.

Citizens of Oxford prepare to celebrate Earth Day this weekend

During their biweekly meeting, multiple issues were addressed to the council; the most predominant, however, were issues relating to Oxford’s carbon footprint in addition to the city’s goal to counter climate change.

The meeting opened with a proclamation from Mayor William Snavely declaring April 22 as Environmental Awareness Day, otherwise known as Earth Day. This day will include festivities such as a pancake breakfast at Talawanda High School and a Fresh Air Fair Uptown, as well as the regularly scheduled weekly farmer’s market.

“Individuals and institutions have a mutual responsibility to seek ecological, economical and ethical solutions that enable the world, as well as our individual communities, to establish and maintain sustainable societies,” Snavely said as he delivered the proclamation.

Snavely said Earth Day was started on April 22, 1970, to raise awareness of the environmental issues that are relevant in the world today. Earth Day is celebrated by about 180 countries and remains a staple aspect of how humans celebrate and respect “this global home.”

Earth day means more than just celebrating

Oxford citizens and representatives are looking to take an initiative in combating climate change within the city. One citizen during public participation asked the council to consider offering incentives for rooftop solar panels used for energy.

“We need to find an active way to encourage people,” the citizen said.

Rooftop solar panels are just one way Oxford citizens are looking to find clean and renewable energy sources.

Assistant City Manager Jessica Greene went on to address a resolution authorizing the city manager to allow Oxford to join Power a Clean Future Ohio in supporting several initiatives, such as reducing carbon emissions and supporting renewable energy. 

“Power a Clean Future Ohio is an expansive, diverse coalition engaging with cities and local governments across the state of Ohio to build a clean future for our communities, and empowers local leaders with tools and resources to create carbon reduction plans and implement them in ways that are achievable, measurable, equitable, and economical,” Greene said.

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Council looks to offer more housing options in Oxford

One important ordinance involves turning a small garage into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). Zachary Moore, city planner, looks to convert a small garage into an accessible housing unit on 200 E Collins St. The home that currently occupies this property is typically rented for student housing. If passed, the house would share its property with a possible ADU in the space where a current garage stands.

This ADU will function much like other student housing in Oxford, just on a smaller scale. The push for more ADUs in Oxford comes from high housing demand, as well as the increased population living in Oxford. 

“Mr. [Scott] Webb has submitted a site plan depicting existing property conditions which are proposed to remain largely the same, sparing the refurbishment of the existing garage to include additional living space comprising two bedrooms, a full bathroom and a combined living/kitchen area,” Moore said.

Council will meet again on Tuesday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Oxford Courthouse.