Affordable housing projects tabled by county commission

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The need for more affordable housing is something folks in Lafayette County can agree upon. How to go about it is another story.

Developer J.W. McCurdy sought variances Monday from the Lafayette County Planning Commission for two developments on Highway 7 designed to fill the void for more affordable housing.

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The catch is many of the lots in Oakmont and Briarwood subdivisions do not meet the 10,000 square feet requirement the county passed earlier this year.

Jeff Williams with Williams Engineering, representing McCurdy’s developments, said that of the 116 lots in Oakmont, about half were less than 10,000 square feet. And of the 55 lots in Briarwood, 42 were less than 10,000 square feet.

“We’re trying to build some houses that have as many amenities as we can afford for the price of the land,” Williams said. “It’s starter home type of deal. We’d like to provide some affordable housing.”

Commission chairman TJ Ray asked if the development would be affordable housing, which he said has been defined by the city of Oxford as a couple paying $850 per month.

“Will this qualify as a house with a mortgage for $850?” Ray asked Williams, who turned to McCurdy and the developer said “yes” it would.

“But at the end of the day, the lots will be less than 10,000 square feet?” Ray asked, to which Williams replied “Yes, sir.”

“If you deny the variance, we will have to totally redesign the subdivision to come up with a different layout,” Williams said.

The commission did deny both variances and Williams said he will try to bring a new version of the development’s to the next commission meeting in August. Williams must also seek water and sewer from the city of Oxford for the developments.

Residents not in favor

He won’t be alone when he comes back. About two dozen residents of North Pointe subdivision who were at Monday evening’s meeting to voice their concerns plan to return when the development is presented again to the commission, which tabled both developments.

Another developer was granted a request to have his development, known as Rhett Place, be removed from the agenda.

Meanwhile, a landowner came before the commission to set the record straight that his property on County Road 437 will not be a future subdivision. The property consists of 220 acres. The landowner sold a piece of his property to a friend to build a house and he plans to build his own home on the parcel, which is located on the northeast side of County Road 437 near Highway 6.