Ox­ford coun­cil, mayor nix Emory park­ing plan

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

Three mem­bers of the Ox­ford City Coun­cil and Mayor Jerry Rose­berry de­ter­mined greenspace trumps park­ing spaces at the coun­cil’s Mon­day night meet­ing when they voted 4-3, with Rose­berry cast­ing the tie-break­ing vote, to deny an Ox­ford Col­lege of Emory Univer­sity plan to turn a city owned grassy area on the east side of What­coat Street into a park­ing lot.

The pro­posal, pre­sented by Ken­dra May­field, As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor of Pro­grams at the col­lege dur­ing the coun­cil’s 6 p.m. work ses­sion, called for the con­struc­tion of 30 park­ing spaces along the south­east side of the street. The coun­cil ear­lier in the sum­mer ap­proved the re­zon­ing of two parcels of col­lege-owned land on the west side of What­coat Street and on Ge­orge Street for the con­struc­tion of a park­ing lot with 34 spaces.

At the time of that vote, then City Man­ager Bob Schwartz said the new park­ing could be used in part to re­place park­ing spaces ad­ja­cent to Allen Me­mo­rial Methodist Church that will be lost when the col­lege be­gins to make changes to Pierce Street.

May­field made a sim­i­lar pro­posal to the coun­cil at its last work ses­sion. That pro­posal called for a park­ing area that im­pacted the right of way on the street. The new plan, she said, would not im­pact the right of way.

“There was not sup­port of that de­sign and Coun­cil­man ( David) Eady sug­gested a dif­fer­ent de­sign that would push it back a bit more and cre­ate a mir­rored pre­sen­ta­tion of that park­ing lot and we are fine to pro­ceed with that.”

May­field said the col­lege would be will­ing to be re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the park­ing lot and mak­ing the changes to the street.

Coun­cil Mem­ber Jim Wind­ham voiced op­po­si­tion to the plan.

“I per­son­ally can’t see this be­ing a fa­vor­able thing for the city of Ox­ford,” he said,” We’ve al­ready given the col­lege Hamill Street. For all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, we’re un­likely to get that back any­time soon. We’ve given the col­lege carte blanche on Pierce Street to elim­i­nate park­ing spaces and do what they see fit on that.

“We swapped land with the col­lege on the din­ing hall. We have given to ap­prove vari­ances on al­most ev­ery build­ing they’ve put up in re­cent years and I, for one, don’t want peo­ple to think of Ox­ford as the park­ing lot for the pretty col­lege be­hind it.”

Wind­ham sug­gested there were bet­ter ways for the col­lege to ad­dress its park­ing is­sues and that the city should move on with its own plans for What­coat Street.

Eady said both What­coat Street park­ing lots would be used re­place park­ing lost when the col­lege makes changes to Pierce Street.

“I would point out that the park­ing on What­coat street, both the lot on the west side that’s solely on col­lege prop­erty and the pro­posal for park­ing on the What­coat Street right of way, is in part to re­place the dis­placed on street park­ing on What­coat and Pierce Street,” he said, “That is the 20 spaces and 14 spaces that are be­ing re­moved from What­coat and Pierce Street.

Rose­berry sug­gested the col­lege should look at ex­pand­ing park­ing on the prop­erty they al­ready own.

“One thing that comes to my mind is, we know that What­coat Street is used by a lot of peo­ple on that side of town go­ing to the post of­fice,” he said, “They don’t want to go out on Emory Street. They want to go out What­coat.

“If we could move that park­ing over to the left side, on prop­erty you al­ready own, we could re­duce the traf­fic on What­coat Street.”

Sev­eral mem­bers of the church voiced their sup­port for the plan. May­field said the col­lege has re­ceived feed­back from the church.

“A lot of this is due to feed­back that we’ve had from the church. They’re in a re­ally tough sit­u­a­tion with park­ing from us. We need to try to pro­vide them some very ap­pro­pri- ate park­ing ad­ja­cent,” she said.

“I think that the east park­ing lot is some­what el­e­gant in its sim­plic­ity and I think the streetscape will be lovely.”

Prior to the vote, Rose­berry sug­gested that ex­pand­ing park­ing on the west side of the street would elim­i­nate the need for church mem­bers to have to cross the street and be closer to the church. He also said the plan would elim­i­nate the park- like at­mos­phere of the area.

Mem­ber Sarah Davis echoed Rose­berry’s con- cerns about church mem­bers cross­ing the street.

“I would like to see it on the other side of the street as well,” she said. “I don’t know what the church mem­bers think about that, but I think that the older peo­ple are go­ing to have an harder time get­ting across the street to the side­walk then they would if they were on the other side of the street.”

Mem­bers Wind­ham, Davis and Dr. Melvin Baker voted to deny the pro­posal while Eady, Ge­orge Holt and Mike Ready voted in fa­vor be­fore Rose­berry broke the tie.

Dar­ryl Welch | The Cov­ing­ton News

The Ox­ford City Coun­cil voted against al­low­ing Ox­ford Col­lege to turn a public park-like area on What­coat Street into a park­ing lot.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.