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Oxford Board of Aldermen’s land donation request readies for first hurdle

Before the Oxford Board of Aldermen decide to move forward with a request to donate land for a workforce housing development, the value of the land in question needs to be determined.

Earlier this month, the LOU-Home organization asked the board to consider donating 2 acres of land off South 16th Street, behind Beanland Drive.

LOU-Homes is a nonprofit organization formed in 2007 to help manage Community Green, the 20-house subdivision on Molly Barr Road that was created when the University of Mississippi donated old staff homes they were moving off campus to make room for student housing.

On the agenda for tonight’s Board of Aldermen meeting, City Planner Judy Daniel will ask the aldermen for permission to hire an appraiser to appraise the value of the land.

State law states that cities can donate land for the construction of homes for “person who otherwise can afford to only live in substandard housing.”

During the previous meeting, City Attorney Pope Mallette suggested that getting the property appraised as being one of the several steps the city could take before making the decision whether to donate the land.

“Depending on the value, you could decide to sell the land and buy double the amount of land somewhere else that would provide even more housing,” he said. “But you won’t know that unless the appraisal is done. That’s something for you all to decide.”

City officials are working with staff and LOU-Homes Director Fred Laurenzo on other details about the proposed development that shows 11 units on preliminary drawings.

The land is currently zoned RB, or two-unit zoning, where duplexes and townhouses are allowed. City planners say the new land development code that is being finalized doesn’t show a change in the density of the area in the future land use map.

In September, Laurenzo, asked the city to donate land off Molly Barr Road near the water tower for affordable housing; however, the land would have to be rezoned and the topography would make construction more costly. Laurenzo said a “city official” suggested looking at the land off South 16th Street.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at City Hall in the second-floor courtroom.

The entire agenda is available online at www.oxfordms.net/board-of-aldermen-agenda.