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Georgia company courting Oxford council with subdivision plan

Oxford property

This southward view from the entrance to Choccolocco Park in Oxford shows the space in which a 70-home subdivision would be built if the city approves the project.

Oxford might get a little busier if a new subdivision is approved by the City Council. 

Developers from Woodstock, Ga.-based Smith Douglas Homes met with council members during the governing body’s pre-meeting work session last week to present plans for an approximately 70-home subdivision just south of the Choccolocco Park entrance on Leon Smith Parkway

Beth Emshoff, division president of the company’s Birmingham arm, said Monday that the project hadn’t yet been approved by the city. 

“We’re still working with the city to get a ‘yes,’” Emshoff said.

Attempts to reach Mayor Alton Craft were unsuccessful Tuesday. A list of questions was sent to the city’s media representative for the mayor that morning. In the afternoon, she told a reporter she had been unable to reach the mayor for comment or to schedule an interview. 

Emshoff and Connor Thorpe, a project manager for the company, last week showed off plans for the proposed subdivision to a seemingly receptive City Council. Plans included adding a small lake to the property, just beside a long street lined with houses, ending in a cul-de-sac. 

The 32-acre plot was previously up for rezoning in 2016 to allow construction of rentable, low-income, tax credit-subsidized townhouses when the property was owned by brothers John and Barry James. The city’s planning and zoning board had already agreed to the change, pending the approval of the City Council. 

About 130 people attended the meeting where a vote would have taken place, and several spoke against the proposed $9.1 million townhouse development. Most of those people lived on Shannon Brook Lane, which borders the disputed acreage. 

One resident argued at the time that the low-income housing might adversely affect the value of his home, and asked others to show their support by raising their hands. Most in the chamber did so. The proposal died due to a lack of council support. 

Thorpe confirmed Monday that the homes would cost around $200,000 depending on the style, most of which were two-story

The city purchased the land from the Jameses two years ago for $1.2 million, according to records at the Calhoun County Probate Office.

Thorpe told council members the property will need to be graded before construction could start. Monday, he said the construction process could be completed in about eight months, though Emshoff said preliminary work like permitting could stretch the process out longer. 

 

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560. 

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