The Oxford Board of Aldermen held their first regularly scheduled meeting for the month of May Tuesday, and there was heavy discussion regarding a stretch of property on Old Taylor Road.

The property is currently owned by the Howorth family and sits across from Rowan Oak, the famed property Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner. The Howorth family is hoping to sell the property to developers who wish to turn the land into a subdivision consisting of a total of 8 lots. There is currently a one home on the property that is marked as a historic property.

The addition of seven new homes on the property, which sits at 910 Old Taylor Rd., has drawn sharp criticism from the community. Despite the emails and phone calls, however, only one person showed up and opposed the development at the meeting of the Planning Commission where an open hearing on the subject was held.

Ward 3 Alderman Janice Antonow oversees the ward where the property sits. She voiced her own personal opposition to the development, saying that she would very much hate to see the historic landscape with its century-old water oaks, replaced with expensive housing.

After hearing from some of the Howorths as well as representatives of the entity buying the property, the board voted to approve the development. It was completely in compliance with zoning laws and historic regulations. Antonow said that while she would vote to approve the motion, she implored developers to consider dropping the first lot, closest to the road where most of the visible trees are located.

The vote from the aldermen Tuesday was to approve the first two phases for the development. In order the second phase to be approved, several things will have to go before the board and get their approval.

Aldermen also voted to authorize the City’s design team to move forward with the expansion of the Oxford Park Commission’s Activities Center, without going off campus from their current location on the intersection of Price Street and Molly Barr.

Oxford Police Chief Joey East stood before the board as the voted to accept a Community Grant from Walmart in the amount of $2,500 and $1,500 from the Community Church of Oxford to go toward “crime prevention.” The later donation could be used for the purchase of bicycles for the use of the department. Twitter: @chaningthegreen

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