Meaghan McAvoy

Miami University students will soon see the construction of additional off-campus student housing.

The ordinance for the Campus Commons, which will be built between South Poplar Street and Campus Avenue, was approved in a 7-0 vote at the Oxford City Council Tuesday evening.

The current plan stipulates that a piece of land which is now currently open, consisting of 5.45 acres, be divided into 22 lots with 20 duplexes and two single-family homes.

According to Michael Stegman, attorney with Kohnen and Patton in Cincinnati who helped present the plan to council, the duplexes and single-family homes will be a minimum of 75,000 square feet and 25,000 square feet, respectively.

Stegman said the project, which is compliant with Oxford zoning codes, passed its third presentation to the Planning Commission 7-0 Oct. 18, with the understanding that the applicant, Paul Baer Family Trust, would meet nine specific conditions.

According to Jung-Han Chen, Oxford community development director, one of the Planning Commission’s requests was the creation of a paved, pedestrian walking path from the existing Campus Courts westward to Poplar Street.

Stegman said the applicant is additionally going to construct a road connecting Poplar Street and Central Avenue. Chen said Rose Avenue will also be extended to Campus Avenue and that Bern Avenue, a stub street off of Campus Avenue, would be extended to Poplar Street. Wooster Street would also be extended to end a cul-de-sac.According to Stegman, the street improvements will help reestablish the traditional grid system and allow for a better organization of the streets found in the Mile Square, serving to create better street connectivity and aid in the flow of vehicular traffic.

“So any of the new traffic created by these dwellings units has a number of ways to go,” Stegman said.

City councilor Kate Currie said she found the project much to her liking.

“All the conditions laid out by the Planning Commission make this a positive project for the city in terms of street connections and sewer extensions,” she said.

Currie also talked about a new sewer line that is going to be installed, another condition stipulated by the Planning Commission. The sewer line, Chen said, would replace the old 12-inch line, which has experienced overflows in the past and is in need of replacement.

Vice Mayor Ken Bogard said that he liked how the applicant was “helping out the neighborhood,” in this regard.

“(They are) taking care of problems that have existed there (for a while), so that is a good plus for this property,” Bogard said.

Chen said the Planning Commission also called for the project to be divided into three phases, with each phase lasting approximately two years. He said that condition seven stipulated, for example, that the sewer line be completed by the end of Phase One.

City Councilor Alysia Fischer and Bogard said they were both particularly pleased with this condition.

According to Currie, the plan is consistent with Oxford’s Comprehensive Plan, particularly in that it promotes development within the Mile Square, rather than adding to suburban sprawl.

Stegman agreed, pointing out that the 1998 Comprehensive Plan stipulates development in the Mile Square to complete missing road segments.

“Your proposed 2008 update (of the Comprehensive Plan) retains that same strategy,” Stegman said.

City councilor Richard Keebler said the plan for Campus Common was a “win-win” for Oxford because of all the benefits that the subdivision would bring to the community, even those living outside of the Common’s vicinity.

Chen agreed.

“I think this is a good project,” he said. “It provides the benefits that the city is looking for.”