New Oak Park development planned to bring more homes

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 24, 2018

The Summit at Oak Park could soon bring new homes into Troy, but some neighbors are concerned the new homes may affect the values of other homes in the area.

The Troy Planning Commission approved a change to the overall layout plan of lots in the Oak Park Planned Unit Development (PUD) 7-1 Thursday afternoon.

Walt Stell brought forward the preliminary plat request for “The Summit at Oak Park” to the planning commission at its 4 p.m. meeting Thursday in the City Council Chambers. Stell was representing Timmy Hall, an owner of S.A. Graham Construction in Brundidge.

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Stell presented the first of likely three phases in the plan, which is tentatively drafted out for 92 lots. The planning commission approved just the first phase layout, which includes 31 60-foot lots.

The original plan was to have some 50-foot and 90-foot lots in addition to 60-foot lots in this area, Stell said.

“When doing the PUD, it’s more about the ratio of residential use to common use,” Stell said. “There was initially actually less common use than in the new plan. We’re basically going to do all 60-foot lots. There were very few 90-foot lots anyway.”

Glenn Helms, who lives at Oak Park, expressed his concerns that the new development might bring smaller, cheaper houses that would negatively affect his own home value.

“The (John H. Witherington connector road) has already made the value of my home plummet,” Helms said. “I can’t give it away. What we keep hearing from people is they don’t want to live that close to a busy road. I don’t want to see a bunch of low-budget homes come in and drop it even more.”

Frank Thomas, who owns 300 acres adjoining the new property, said he fully supports bringing in the homes as long as they meet the 1,600 square-foot size requirement.

“My concern is the credibility and size of the homes,” Thomas said. “Other than that, I wish they were here yesterday.”

Bill Hopper, Planning Commission chairman, said the size of the homes built on the property is not the concern of the commission as long as they adhere to the zoning ordinance for the reserved residential area.

“That’s frankly not what is being voted on,” Hopper said. “We don’t have that authority. What we are looking at is the size of the lots.”

Stell confirmed that Hall will be conforming to the original PUD, making the homes a minimum of 1,600 square-feet, and would also be abiding by any covenants in place for the Oak Park development.

Wheelless Development originally planned to develop the area in 2008, before the economy crashed and they were unable to complete the project as intended.

Stell said The Summit is intended to finally continue development of Oak Park while also differentiating the new subdivision.

“One of the reason this is called The Summit at Oak Park is to differentiate itself from Oak Park,” Stell said. “It is trying to help the area overall, but still be differentiated from Oak Park.”

The new development would connect to Oak Park Drive via Overcup Drive, which would be renamed Summit Drive as part of the construction. The drive is located south between the roundabout and the bridge over Walters Branch Creek. The new homes would be built adjacent to homes already built on Oak Park Drive, Acorn Way and Woodlawn Way.

Stell said he personally believes it is the vision of Mayor Jason Reeves and the council to construct the new connector road that has “revitalized” interest in developing the area.

“We have a mayor who is very progressive and has done a very good job,” Stell said. “He brought the road into Oak Park and that’s what is revitalizing interest in Oak Park with new development. I give mayor Reeves a lot of credit. Without the road, I don’t think there would be much interest in the Oak Park lot.”

Stell said Hall plans to put to sell the homes, not rent them, and projects that they would be in the $180,000 to $200,000 range.

“You can’t build those houses to rent because of the expense, Stell said. “The size precludes rental in most cases.”

In other business, the board unanimously approved the final plat that would combine eight parcels of land to the east side of South Brundidge Street between Center Street and Smith Street into one parcel to accommodate an apartment complex of approximately 60 units.

“The joining of the parcels is about density,” Stell said. “With individual parcels, you can’t have as many units. This will come back next month with plans for the actual complex and units.”

The apartment complex is planned by Back Tax Properties.