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Housing development plan to be voted on next week

By Abbey Gingras, News Editor and Clint Combs, For The Miami Student

Oxford residents and city council members are concerned about the impact of a new housing complex proposed for Southpointe Parkway, near Level 27 Apartments.

The city council will vote on the proposal at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Oxford Court House.

The 37-acre complex is the vision for real estate agency Trinitas Ventures, and has caused sharp backlash from those hoping to preserve the now-open land and steer away from large developments.

Local resident Craig Erickson has apprehensions about the cost of public services like trash and utilities. Erickson fears residents will have to spend their tax dollars to provide services to students during the academic year.

He is also concerned the rent of the new residences will be too high for non-students to afford.

"When an area like this is created for part-time residents, basically non-income tax paying residents, we're creating additional demand on the services of the city for an indefinite period of time," said Erickson. "Is there any possibility for an average income earner, including many of us in this room, to actually live in such a place?"

Oxford's planning commission first rejected the proposal at its August 2014 meeting. Then, in May, council voted 5 to 2 against Trinitas student housing plan that prompted the Indiana-based company to file a lawsuit against the city. The city then approved a measure to settle with the developers.

This approval was not met kindly, as David Prytherch, chairman of the Planning Commission, told The Student in a Sept. 11 article that, "This is a case with a long history, and lately had a cloud of litigation looming over it."

Councilman Richard Keebler has concerns about whether public services or private contractors will serve water and sewage treatment to residents of the proposed complex. Keebler's question comes amid concerns whether private contractors will uphold their commitment to providing water and sewage services.

Trinitas' proposed housing complex would include an estimated 194 units, or 668 beds, and 64 townhomes. This is a decrease from the original proposal of 225 units.

Oxford already has a housing surplus - out of 7,200 properties, only 61.8 percemt are being rented - making some question why the new complex is necessary. Miami Preserve, another apartment complex near Kroger, opened this year and contains 68 units.

Two scenarios could play out depending on how council votes next week, according to city documents. If the Trinitas plan is approved, Council would have 14 days to submit comments or instructions to to the corporation.

If rejected, Trinitas could be exempt from several zoning provisions and resubmit the original proposal that council voted against in May.

City documents noted that, in the event the Preliminary Current Planned Urban Development (P.U.D.) is resubmitted, the new proposal will be permitted regardless of any provisions in Oxford's Zoning Code, Codified Ordinances or Charter.