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‘More-Affordable’ Housing Development Receives $171K in Incentives to Build

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

A future development will do one of two things for Oxford’s goal of having more affordable housing options in the city – it will provide about 57 new “more-affordable” homes, or it will provide about $450,000 toward the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

“It’s a win-win to me,” said Mayor Robyn Tannehill Tuesday during the Oxford Board of Aldermen’s regular meeting.

The subdivision is located off Thacker Loop Drive on the west side of Oxford and is dubbed “Villa West,” and owned by local developer J.W. McCurdy.

On Tuesday, the Board of Aldermen considered a request from McCurdy to be granted several incentives for the development that meets the city’s guidelines to be an “affordable” housing development. The incentives include having building permits, tree mitigations, water and sewer permit fees waived at the estimated value of about $171,000.

The home would be priced below the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s suggested price for for-sale, three-bedroom, two-bath homes which is currently $178,062. The rates would only go up 2 percent each year. The homes would be deed-restricted to follow the price restrictions for 15 years.

However, if someone purchases one of the homes and wants to resell it and be able to charge more than the restricted price, they would pay the city of Oxford $7,500 to opt-out of the affordable housing.

If all 57 homeowners did that, the city could wind up with about $425,000 that would be placed in an Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Those funds could be used to offset incentives the city grants similar housing projects, the purchase of land for future affordable housing developments and more.

If someone sells the houses before the 15 years passes, then the city has that many more “more affordable” homes in its inventory.

Alderman Janice Antonow said she had a hard time thinking of the homes being “affordable” even at the current price but voted to grant the incentives as there was little risk to Oxford for doing so.

The word “affordable” comes from the federal definition, said Stewart Rutledge, another developer who spoke to the aldermen on behalf of McCurdy Tuesday. Rutledge has two affordable/workforce housing development in Oxford currently and is working as an advisor on Villa West.

“If this gets denied tonight, they’ll just sell these homes anyway,” he said. “This way, the city gets more affordable homes or money in its affordable housing fund.”

Rutledge said the proposed program is a first in Mississippi.

The city also required to add a restriction that the homes could not be rented out for a period of six months or less.

The Board voted unanimously to grant the incentives for Villa West.

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