Requested land to the Oxford Board of Aldermen for housing worth $840K

Published 10:06 am Thursday, June 8, 2017

When LOU-Homes chairman Fred Laurenzo presented his request to the Oxford Board of Aldermen for a donation of 2 acres of land off South 16th Street, the board suggested before they could consider the request, an appraisal should be done of the land’s value.

On Tuesday, during the board’s regular meeting, Public Works Director Bart Robinson told the board the appraisal put the value of the land at $840,000.

“I think this will necessitate a discussion ongoing over the next several months,” said Mayor Pat Patterson. “This came as a bit of a surprise to us. I certainly think it will require more in-depth thought.”

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.

A preliminary plan presented in April by Laurenzo showed a proposed development consisting of 11 units. The land is currently zoned RB, or two-unit zoning, where duplexes and townhouses are allowed.

Laurenzo was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

“It’s almost obscene that we have property valued like that and the only people who could afford to buy are developers who would make it student housing and make a fortune,” said Alderman Janice Antonow.

Alderman John Morgan said the appraisal proves that the problem isn’t necessarily being able to build affordable homes, but rather finding affordable land in Oxford.