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Planning leaders OK 2 sites

What a difference two months and open communication can make.

In December, the City Hall courtroom was filled with residents living near the proposed Avery Park residential development who were adamantly against the development’s storm water plans, which they felt could endanger the lives of residents.

However, on Monday the Savaggio Development Group and the residents were finally on the same page.

During the December meeting, the planning commission directed developer Tony Salvaggio to meet with the residents to address their concerns and perhaps, alter their plans.

The development plans to build 22-single-family homes on 30 acres of land off Highways 30 and 7, even though zoning allows for 142 lots. The original plans included two dams, one larger one located in the middle of the property and a second, smaller one, located close to Zilla Avent Drive, and just 40 feet from Dr. William Strickland’s home, who opposed the plan in December.

On Monday, Mark Davis, representing the developer, told the commission they had changed the plan that now creates one larger retention pond that also will serve as water feature amenities and will have at least one, and maybe two, fountains to help keep the water from being stagnant to prevent mosquitoes.

“We are glad we went back and looked at the plans because we feel this is a better plan,” Davis said. “We’ve had some great meetings with the residents.”

Strickland agreed and thanks Davis and the Savaggio group for working with him and the residents.

“My neighbors and myself are more than satisfied,” Strickland told the commission.

The board unanimously approved the preliminary site plan for Avery Park.

The Helix

The commission also approved several requests from the developers of The Helix of Oxford, a 14-building, 252-unit multi-family, student-geared housing project that will be located on the north side of proposed Oxford Way and County Road 300 in the Oxford Farms development on about 22 acres.

The commission approved several variances for the project, including a parking variance; allowing a 10-foot deep detention basin, rather than 5-foot as stated in city code and a 3.5-foot fence height variance for a fence around the detention basin. They also granted a special exception to allow electronic gates into the community, although Commissioner Duncan Gray voted against the gates, saying they are a nightmare for residents when they don’t work properly.

The commission approved the preliminary plat and the site plan for the project.

The development also  will come with a little something extra.

Developers of The Helix have committed to construct Oxford Way, a section from South Lamar Boulevard to the existing County Road 300 and to overlay the existing County Road 300 to Old Taylor Road. Traffic studies indicated that a traffic light at Oxford Way and South Lamar Boulevard might be needed eventually.