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Mixed use project near FNC Park?

If developers have their way, a one-of-a-kind housing and commercial development could be on the horizon in Lafayette County.

Local developer Mac Alexander and Jeff Williams with Williams Engineering approached the Lafayette County Planning Commission at their most recent meeting for a pre-application review of their project. The sticking point could be the recently enacted county code of allowing no more than four units per acre.

Alexander is calling the development Evergreen Subdivision, but it is much more than just housing. The project is near FNC Park and the proposed West Oxford Loop Extended, and would be located on approximately 190 acres, according to Williams. The city of Oxford may eventually annex the development, according to Alexander.

While it will primarily be a housing development, the project also includes a commercial development area along the parkway, as well as an RV park to be used by folks coming into the county for youth league tournaments or college football on Saturday’s. There’s also an area for a proposed church near the site.

According to Williams, Alexander was promised a certain number of water and sewer hookups in an agreement with city officials as part of a package deal in exchange with the land used for FNC Park.

Density appears to be the biggest issue with the project. Williams designed a creative way to work around that issue with a mixed-use development that includes retail, commercial, town homes, apartments, as well as 10,000-square foot homes and smaller lots for other homes. It’s a concept the county and city currently do not have.

“There’s a lot of mixing and mingling with the overall project that would be called a planned unit development,” Williams said. “The county does not have anything that resembles that and the city does not allow PUDs anymore, so we’re really struggling trying to get some answers.”

The biggest answer Williams would like from the county is in regard to density challenges the project is facing.

“They’re not nearly as bad as I originally thought until we started running the numbers,” Williams said.

Phase I of the project as a whole would be just under four units per acre, according to Williams. Phase I is broken down into Phase IA, smaller housing lots, and Phase IB, rental lots. Williams said Phase IA would have a density of less than three units per acre, but Phase IB would have a density of just over five units per acre.

Phase II would be the RV park, which would consist of 100 pads. Phase III would be a mix of cottages, another potential RV park and a mix of retail offices.

“We’ve tried to combine these phases to try and meet the criteria of the city and county,” Williams said. “It’s hard to get the density exactly into the criteria the county has.”

Commission member Johnny Sowell was concerned what this project may look like 20 years down the road.

Williams said the project was initially presented to a member of the Orion group during their creation of the city’s 2037 plan and fell into what the city was trying to create.

When the issue of density was approached following the presentation, commission chairman TJ Ray said Williams would have to request a variance from the county.