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Board of Supervisors approve Briarwood subdivision

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors gave preliminary approval for phase one of the Briarwood subdivision at their meeting on Tuesday.

The housing development is spearheaded by local builders J.W. McCurdy and Chad Russom, of MR Construction, and will feature 69 home sites. The decision to grant the developers a variance is based on the board’s intent to approve new zoning laws for Lafayette County at their next meeting on Jan. 16.

Board president Jeff Busby says the housing development will meet a need for workforce housing in Oxford and fit with the proposed zoning ordinance.

“Briarwood isn’t low-income housing, but it’s workforce housing, because that’s where we’ve seen the most need,” Busby said. “We felt confident that either [zoning or the Briarwood plat] would pass, so that’s why we gave that variance.”

The development has been branded by McCurdy as “affordable” workforce housing, with at least half of the three-bedroom homes selling for $160 thousand or less. Homes will be brick and are set to include a two-car garage, granite countertops, a refrigerator, stove, microwave and dishwasher in the purchase price.

“It’s similar to the same price houses that we built at Shelbi’s Place a couple years ago,” McCurdy said. “The ideal resident is the people who serve the community, the firefighters, the police officers, the teachers, nurses.”

While the homes, which will range in size from 1320 to 1700 square feet, will be similar in style and size to the Shelbi’s Place subdivision, homes in Briarwood will cost at least $10 thousand more.

This is something McCurdy attributes to the location and building standards in Oxford.

“The houses at Shelbi’s place that are $149,500 will be $159 thousand, to meet the City of Oxford’s standards,” he said. “The land is more expensive to develop.”

Because of the high volume of lots in phase one of Briarwood and the potential growth in subsequent phases, location is key, Busby says.

“If you travel 10, 20 miles out of town, you don’t have the water or sewer capacity to build at that volume,” Busby said.

For some who are considered part of the “workforce,” or who are now retired, a longer commute is worth a cheaper price tag.

“[$160 thousand] is more than I could afford as a retired teacher,” Diana Hinton, of Water Valley, said. “We need $75 thousand homes, like in other towns. And even that is too much for many workers, especially those making minimum wage.”

While the lots at Briarwood will differ slightly in size from the lots at the similar Shelbi’s Place development, MR Construction plans to compensate by adding a 2-acre recreation area.

Residents will have a couple of walking trails in the park, as well as a baseball field and basketball courts.

Following the preliminary approval, construction for phase one of Briarwood will begin sometime next week, with the first of the homes popping up over the next few months.

The subdivision will be located north of the Gables and west of Oxmoor Ridge, on County Road 101, or Old Highway 7. For those who wish to educate themselves more on the proposed zoning laws for Lafayette County, the Jan. 16 Board of Supervisors meeting will also include a final public hearing.