Oxford dedicates September to volunteer work

By Kelsey Kimbler - For The Register-Herald

OXFORD – Oxford City Council met Tuesday, Aug. 16, for its second meeting of the month, and had a significant focus on volunteer work.

Vice-Mayor Mike Smith read a proclamation regarding the good of volunteer work. It stated, “volunteerism strengthens communities, addresses vital social concerns, and enhances the quality of life for all citizens.” Smith recognized the month of September as “Ohio Volunteer Challenge: Feed Ohio 2016.”

The public is urged to commemorate the National Day of Service on Sept. 11. The way Oxford has chosen to do so is through this food challenge.

Following the proclamation was an on-topic presentation by Carol Michael, President of the Oxford ShareFest board. ShareFest is a service that collects unwanted items from Miami University students moving out of their dorms and apartments. ShareFest donated these items to eight recipient groups: Butler County Children Services, Butler County Success, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati, Lighthouse Food Pantry, Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries, Oxford Community Choice Pantry, Preble County Habitat for Humanity, and the Student Veterans’ Association at Miami University.

This year’s ShareFest event took place from Wednesday, May 11 to Tuesday, May 17. There was a slight decline of off-campus pickups from 2015’s haul, but Michael noted, they “had fewer cancelations and, really, no junk this year. Which is a great change.”

In other business, five different resolutions were discussed:

• A resolution authorizing a temporary end to the noise ordinance on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 11 p.m. until 12:30 a.m.

This is a resolution the council approved in 2015 as well. It is so the Miami Athletics Midnight Madness event can take place in Uptown Parks. It is a kickoff to basketball season and a way that Miami University can highlight their basketball program over Family Weekend. Miami University Athletics representatives Lindsey Sparks and Megan Henderson spoke abou the event, stating it was just one of the ways to connect the university to the community – an effort that most of Oxford is passionate about.

The basketball party will take place on Oct. 1 and a DJ will temporarily break the noise ordinance, with full support from city council.

• A resolution following previous declarations of improvements to be made to sidewalks and gutters. This resolution will determine the final cost of improvements ($14,094.30), authorize the creation of a list of estimated assessments (total cost of construction, repair to each lot, etc.) make said list available for public inspection, publish a legal notice, and deliver any written objections by public to the city council for review.

The public had been previously made aware of this project and members could opt to make repairs on their own cost.

• A resolution authorizing the agreement with Environmental Design Group for preliminary design services for Oxford Recreational Trail Phase II. This part of the trail will run from Bonham Road clockwise to the Community Park.

The cost outlined in the resolution is not to exceed $27,000, but it should be noted that this is not the cost of construction; rather, it is the price to have the soon-to-be trail estimated.

Environmental Design Group explained their plan in a letter to Community Development Planner Sam Perry: “Environmental Design Group will evaluate the 2007 Preliminary Trail Plan (prepared by KZF Design) and identify a single preferred trail alignment. A preliminary alignment plan, construction costs and renderings will be developed for the preferred trail alignment.”

• A resolution authorizing an amendment to the Development Agreement with Capstone Development Corporation regarding Hawks Landing. Construction has been under way at the popular student apartment complex, turning four-bedroom apartments into a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom. The construction that Capstone is seeking authorization for at this time will turn two two-bedroom apartments meant for on-site management personnel into legitimate rental properties.

It was argued that the need for on-site management personnel has greatly dissipated due to technology and that there is now no use in these apartments taking up rental room.

• A resolution legally adopting the Oxford property tax rate for 2017 as approved by the auditor’s office.

Council also held the first reading of an ordinance making adjustments to the amended 2017 budget for health care reimbursements.

Second readings were held for four ordinances regarding Oxford’s General and Neighborhood Business District:

• The first repealed Oxford’s ordinance entitled General Business District and adopted two new ordinances entitled General Business District and Neighborhood Business District.

• The second repealed the current ordinance entitled Establishment of Zoning Districts and created one of the same name.

• The third repealed Oxford’s ordinance entitled conditional uses and adopted one of the same name.

• The last repealed the current ordinance regarding signs and a new ordinance was adopted.

The purpose of these ordinances is to give Oxford an updated General Business District and to create a Neighborhood Business District.

The Neighborhood District is intended to create space for small-scale retail and services near residential areas, while not interrupting the normal flow of the neighborhood.

The next city council meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 7:30 p.m.

By Kelsey Kimbler

For The Register-Herald