Developer Drops Request for Zone Change on US-27

By Annie Craver

Spectra Student Living has withdrawn its request to rezone a 7.9- acre parcel of land on U.S. Route 27. Spectra planned to build a rental complex with R-1A single-family zoning and R-2A single-and-two family housing — a proposal that had met with strong neighborhood opposition.

The proposal was withdrawn by the developer from the agenda of Tuesday, May 14, meeting of the Oxford Planning Commission.

During the March 12 planning commission meeting, Spectra said it hoped to purchase the property near Talawanda High School if it were to be rezoned. Spectra wanted to construct a complex with one-bedroom apartments and two-and three-bedroom townhomes. The rental complex was envisioned to be up to 102 units that would provide housing for single working people or young professionals, the developer said.

It was during the March planning commission meeting that many neighbors from nearby Spartan Drive and others in the Oxford community expressed their opposition to the proposal.  They feared that such a development would end up being primarily student rental housing, which would disrupt the single-family lifestyle of the neighborhood.

Members of the planning commission noted that if the zone change were approved, the commission would have no control over whether or not the project turned into student housing.

Some of the neighbors that complained noted that there already are vacant parcels zoned R-2A, a little further south on U.S. 27, that are available for development.

At the March meeting, the planning commission tabled the proposal and suggested that Spectra meet with the city planning staff and the neighbors to see if they could come up with revisions and assurances to satisfy the neighbors’ concerns. Those meetings never happened.

The parcel of land on U.S. 27 near Talawanda High School remains empty and for sale.