OXFORD – Residents in south Oxford could be buying groceries nearer home, but not all are pleased with the idea.
Members of Oxford Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend a conditional rezoning of about 25 acres along Mississippi Highway 7 South from single-family residential to general business. The property is bordered by County Road 322 on the south, Windsor Falls subdivision on the north and a future planned phase of Windsor Falls on the west.
“There is a need for a shopping center on Highway 7 South,” said project engineer Jeff Williams, who represents CLS Capital Properties LLC. “There is very little that serves … that area.”
The nearest grocery stores and selection of restaurants are approximately three miles away on University Avenue.
Developers agreed to several conditions in asking for the zoning change, including only one entrance from Highway 7; no car lots, building supply stores, warehouses, truck terminals, vehicle repair or maintenance businesses or animal hospitals; complementary building facades and signs; a limit of one sign along the highway; and architectural review by the Planning Commission.
The preliminary design calls for an anchor store with smaller businesses alongside and as many as eight outparcel businesses. Developer’s agent Will Matthews said businesses under consideration include a convenience store, family restaurant, coffee shop, grocery store and bank – “things that people depend on on a daily basis.” Area residents audibly gasped when he also mentioned the possibility of a hotel as a tenant.
One resident was concerned that the shopping center might make Windsor Falls a new connector between Highway 7 and Lamar Boulevard.
“That will strictly be up to the city,” Williams said. “But without that access, you’ll have to go out on Lamar, then 322 and then Highway 7 to have access to it.”
Another nearby resident claimed no businesses were needed in the area.
“My property value is going to plunge,” he said. “I don’t think it’s fair to the people who’ve poured their hearts into (this area) and now have it become a hotel area or a convenience store area.”
Williams said the development would meet business needs “so people don’t have to go all the way across town.”