Source: Sherman Publications

Major property owners invited to discuss future land use, zoning

by CJ Carnacchio

March 30, 2011

In an effort to stimulate economic growth and foster a more business-friendly environment, Oxford Township is inviting its major property owners to a meeting to discuss future land use in the community and the potential rezoning of its main traffic and business corridors.

“We’re looking for their input and their thoughts because it does affect their land,” said Jack Curtis, who chairs the township’s Economic Development Subcommittee (EDSC), which is hosting the meeting. “We want to make sure we’re doing the right thing for planning in the future.”

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6 at the Oxford Veterans Memorial Civic Center (28 N. Washington St.). This is a public meeting, so anyone is welcome to attend and participate.

“We always welcome the public’s ideas,” Curtis said. “We have many people in this community that own businesses in other communities, but live here. Some of these people may have an opportunity to bring their business here and be closer to their homes. There are some big business owners that live in Oxford Township, but yet they don’t consider the township (as a place to do business).”

Most of the major landowners invited to this meeting currently possess property along the M-24 corridor.

They include Aragona Properties (11.5 acres), JFK Investments (25 acres), Levy Corporation (2,038 acres of which 1,217 are located along M-24), REI-Larry Lax (25 acres), Randy Bellestri (29.5 acres) and Jim Guy (40 acres).

Also on the guest list is Koenig Sand & Gravel, which owns approximately 1,200 acres along Lakeville Rd.

“These landowners all have property that could be developed into some business or commercial use,” Curtis said.

According to Curtis, the EDSC has some recommendations with regard to the future use and zoning of these properties.

“We’re going to run them by (the owners), so they know what our plans are from a township perspective,” he said. “We want to see how it fits into their plans.”

The township’s Future Land Use map is being redone this year.

“It’s not an entire redo, but there are certain pieces, sections and parcels that we want to change from a restrictive use, say Research Office, to a mixed used,” explained Curtis, who also sits on the planning commission.

A mixed use zoning would decrease the amount of redtape and township meetings facing a landowner who wishes to develop his property.

“If it fits the use in that area, (the approval process can be) more prompt and action can be taken to get the development going,” Curtis said.

Curtis said this meeting is part of the township’s effort to be more proactive when it comes attracting new businesses.

“We don’t really have a marketing plan in Oxford Township, like we want one of these (businesses) or we want one of those (businesses),” he said. “It’s been all about what’s coming. Well, as you know, nothing’s coming right now. There’s nothing really generating businesses in Oxford Township.”

That’s one of the reasons the EDSC is seeking input from the township’s major landowners.

“Since we don’t have a marketing plan for the township, maybe some of these landowners do and we can help them with finding a business to come to the township,” Curtis said.

One of the biggest obstacles to attracting new businesses is the township’s negative reputation.

“There’s a misnomer that the township is hard to work with,” Curtis said.

He’s hoping meetings like one planned for April 6 will help clear up any misconceptions and correct any genuine problems when it comes to dealing with the township.