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VOL. 116 | NO. 228 | Monday, November 25, 2002

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CME Church 228-lot subdivision on tap CME Church plans 228-lot


The Daily News

A plan to provide affordable housing in the Third Street corridor for middle-class families will go into action sometime next year, if approved by the Memphis City Council.

The first reading of an ordinance to rezone 63 acres on the east side of U.S. Highway 61 north of Raines Road will be considered by Council members at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The general board of personnel services for Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, headquartered at 4466 Elvis Presley Blvd., is the applicant.

The church set up a community development corporation in 1998 and is requesting approval of a zoning change from single-family residential (R-S10) to R-S8 to allow for the development of a subdivision on the site.

CME got the green light to develop the subdivision in April of this year, but in order to make the homes more affordable, the church is requesting a zoning change to allow for smaller lots.

Tanner George, a consulting engineer with the community development corporation, said the group already has developed an adjacent subdivision, Audubon Oaks, and has built 42 homes with an additional 41 lots slated for the next phase of the project.

Of the 228-lot proposal, the development corporation will build 210 homes, with 18 single-family residences custom built by a private group that has helped the church develop the property.

The group originally intended the proposed subdivision, Genesis Estates, to be an upscale development with R-S10 sized lots, but decided to develop a middle-income subdivision instead, George said.

The church already has developed one subdivision in Frayser, Audubon Oaks.

We really wanted to have a presence there in Southwest Memphis, in the Third Street corridor. That was conducive to good family living, and the church has always assisted in that, so it took the lead here on this particular piece of property, he said.

The church owns about 82 acres in the area, 63 of which are dedicated to middle-income housing. The remainder will be developed as commercial property fronting Third Street.

There are very few opportunities for shopping in that area, George said.

In addition, CME intends to build a church on property west of Levi Road.

When completed, Audubon Oaks will have 83 single-family homes ranging in price from $70,000 to $133,000. In developing Genesis Estates, George said the development corporation wanted a subdivision that offered homes ranging from $95,000 to $170,000.

We just didnt want this entire area to be affordable housing. Audubon Oaks is a mix of middle-income and affordable housing, he said.

Genesis Estates originally was zoned for RS-10, but the CME determined it didnt want to provide upscale housing in two neighboring developments Auburn Ridge starting at about $136,000 and Diamond Estates starting at about $151,000 already were doing so.

So many people want properties in the $95,000 to $170,000 range that we needed a subdivision thats dedicated to that, he said.

A lifelong member of the CME Church, George said CMEs mission is economic development, as well as seeking ways to upgrade the community.

We are a church that, apart from providing spiritual substance, we also believe in helping the whole person, he said.

The church established a buyers counseling service at Greenwood CME church in partnership with Fannie Mae.

Once buyers finish counseling, they are ready to qualify for a Fannie Mae loan, he said.

CME CDC is general contractor on the project. Once the rezoning is approved, the first phase of 56 single-family homes should start about midsummer, George said.

The Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development and Land Use Control Board recommended approval of the rezoning plan with conditions.

Sheila Pounder, OPD senior planner, said since the original subdivision proposal already has been approved, this rezoning plan is a companion case providing lots compliant with the subdivision.

This is a revised application. The first application came in and conformed to the original R-S10 lots. A year later, they came back and asked for the application to be revised and they asked for the R-S8 lots. In order to do that they also had to file a companion rezoning case, she said.

They cannot start the building until the rezoning is in place.

The remainder of the property will continue as a commercially zoned district, she said.

Weve approved the subdivision. Weve recommended approval of the rezoning. The lot sizes they are proposing to create are in conformance with the lot sizes in that area. It is adjacent to an existing development to the south that has R-S6 lots (Audubon Oaks), which is even smaller than R-S8, she said.

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