By Alyssa Schnugg
The Oxford Planning Commission approved a variance Monday to allow the Oxford-University School’s Activity Center to be built using metal siding – a building material now considered unacceptable after the city’s Land Development Code was updated a year ago.
Architect Corey Alger presented several photos of several buildings around Oxford and on the University of Mississippi campus that were constructed either all or in part with metal siding.
“The siding we are proposing is the same material being used on the new Oxford Activity building currently under construction which is far more prominent, visible, and public than ours,” he told the commission.
However, plans for the new Activity Center and the other buildings presented Monday were all approved before the Land Development Code and Zoning laws were updated.
The reason for removing metal siding was a simple one, according to City Planner Judy Daniel – it’s ugly.
However, most of the commissioners felt outright banning metal signing may not be in the best interest of the city, local business owners and developers since it’s a cheaper material to use when building large storage buildings.
The OUS activity building sits behind the school and is not visible from the road or by residential areas.
Currently, approved building materials are brick, tile, stucco, stone, vertical board and batten, wood or cementitious siding, concrete masonry units.
The commission voted 4 to 2 to approve the variance and instructed the Planning Department to review the code and make suggestions to possibly change it to allow metal siding if it meets certain criteria, like the structure not being visible and requiring a developer to use more “attractive” styles of metal siding.