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Committee identifying potential growth

Members of a county comprehensive plan committee poured over maps in their meeting Tuesday, focusing on growth in outlying areas of the county that might be ideal for residential and commercial development for the next couple of decades.

Most of those areas have been identified along major highways in the county.

The committee looked at areas along both ends of Highway 6, the Highway 7 and Highway 9 split and Highway 30.

“We’re talking about creating nodes in the county to encourage growth,” said committee chairman and supervisor Kevin Frye. “We want to identify where else it would be strategic to have growth.”

The highway corridors are ideal since they are major thoroughfares that encourage growth and most also have infrastructure.

South of Oxford

The Highway 7/9 split south of Oxford would be a good location for business and industrial growth since it is already experiencing residential expansion. The problem is that it is in a major flood zone

“It looks good on paper, but the jury is still out,” said economic foundation director Jon Maynard. “It could be engineered out.” Meaning it would take a lot of dirt. T.J. Ray, the county planning commission chairman, said the last application for that area called for the land to be built up 10 to 15 feet.

Ray also pointed out that there’s a bigger question with growth along Highway 7 with the Mississippi Department of Transportation buying up rights-of-way for an expected widening of the road sometime in the future.

“That’s a big question mark we have no control over,” Ray told his fellow committee members.

Maynard also acknowledged Highway 9 as a good area for commercial development.

“There’s a lot of workforce near Calhoun,” Maynard said.

Maynard pointed out that along the Highway 6 corridor would be another good area for industrial parks, also identifying the recently closed Roseburg facility on old Highway 7 North.

A couple locations heading toward the Panola County line could be zoned for commercial development.

The committee also believes the Highway 30 intersection with Campground Road where two pieces of land are unoccupied near the Shell gas station and Little John’s.

“It’s well traveled and I could see commercial development there to service Woodson Ridge and people on 30,” Frye said.

There’s also a trailer park planned in the area for the near future.

The committee also discussed the Oxford Springs development near Abbeville, as well as the FNC Park area where a PUD development is planned along the Toby Tubby Parkway that includes mixed use development.

The committee is scheduled to meet again Sept. 27, while Mike Slaughter and Associates develops a draft of the committee’s findings.

The county is in the midst of updating the 2008 comprehensive plan and hopes to have it finalized later this year.