Oxford voters attending a special town meeting Thursday evening at the Oxford Elementary School rejected a proposal to lease space for a town office and approved allowing medical and adult-use marijuana businesses. Seated from left are Board of Selectmen Chairman Scott Hunter, Vice Chairwoman Samantha Hewey and Selectman Sharon Jackson. Nicole Carter/Advertiser Democrat

OXFORD — In a close vote, residents Thursday night defeated an article asking that selectmen be authorized to enter a five-year lease with Oxford Shopping Center Trust for a town office. The paper ballot vote was 39-30 against the proposal.

The town has been considering moving from the former Oxford High School on Pleasant Street because of a number of building issues.

After the facilities committee spent more than two years working toward solutions for replacing the town office, which included recommendations against leasing office space, voters balked at committing to one for five years.

In another paper ballot vote, residents approved repealing an ordinance prohibiting retail marijuana establishments and social clubs and amending the Oxford Zoning Ordinance to allow and regulate medical marijuana and adult-use marijuana businesses. The tally was 47-26 in favor.

An article to amend the Budget Committee bylaws, lowering the number of members and quorum passed. Selectmen recommended changing the bylaws because attendance was so spotty in 2020 that sometimes a quorum could not be met to conduct business. Going forward the committee will have seven members instead of 11, and the quorum was lowered from six to four.

Changes to the cemetery ordinance and repeal of the mobile home ordinance both passed in hand votes. The cemetery ordinance updated language on policies such as stone cleaning and how many burials or cremations are allowed per plot. It also added dog-on-leash requirements and added language limiting inappropriate activities, such as sports.

The mobile home ordinance, which stipulated a $5 fee to place a structure on private residential property dated back to 1980 and has not been used in years. Currently fees are assessed according to square footage, the same as other residences.

However, amending of the Minimum Street Requirement Ordinance failed in a hand vote of 30 no and 25 yes. Code Enforcement Officer Joelle Corey recommended updating the ordinance to align with the subdivision ordinance. The change would have required that developers build privately owned roads to town specs, including minimum paving standards. Some residents objected, saying it is not the town’s job to dictate how landowners build private roads.

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