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Another large development in DeSoto County


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Villages at Hawk's Crossing OK'd

By William C. Bayne


May 4, 2006

After months of wrangling and about a dozen revisions, the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors Wednesday approved the planned unit development zoning for The Villages at Hawk's Crossing.

The multiuse development will spread over 549 acres on the east side of Craft Road and the north side of Byhalia Road, but it will become much better known as a key development along the path of Interstate 269 when it's built through eastern DeSoto County.

The development plan depicts parts of the project on either side of the expressway.

"There is a public need for quality development and a quality lifestyle," said Bob Dalhoff, the planner who has guided the project through all of its battles and revisions.

"We have had numerous meetings with neighbors and a lot of good things have come out as a result of those meetings," he said.

Along the way, the number of housing units plunged from 900 eight months ago to 458 in the plan approved Wednesday.

Townhouses and apartments are gone, and convenience stores and drive-through restaurants have been blocked from the commercial areas.

"I feel like this is the right development for this area," said Barbara Stewart, a former opponent who has become a supporter.

Diane Hawks, whose family owns the land, said communities must be challenged to "take change and try to work with it."

She praised Dalhoff and others for their efforts to "develop a community we can all be proud of."

The development will bring about 1.9 million square feet of retail space when fully built out, but Dalhoff said the commercial development will not begin until the state begins work on the eastern leg of I-269.

"It's better to wait to make sure exactly where the road is going," he said.

House sizes in the development will range from a minimum of 2,000 square feet on lot sizes of 10,000 square feet, to maximum 2,800 square feet on lot sizes of 40,000 square feet.

The smallest houses in the development will carry price tags above $200,000, said Merritt Powell, the county's planning director.

When the vote was called, Supervisors Tommy Lewis, Bill Russell, Allen Latimer and Gene Thach voted in favor and Supervisor Jessie Medlin voted against.

"I'm not voting for anything with lot sizes smaller than 20,000 square feet south of College Road," he said. "It looks like a good development, but I don't like the small lot sizes. I've had that position from the beginning."

-- William C. Bayne: (662) 996-1408

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