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Street Talk

Golden Rule Applies To Oxonian Investors

The Golden Rule, also known as the law of reciprocity, goes like this “Do to others what you would want them to do to you.” Jesus of Nazareth is quoted as saying that both by Luke and Matthew in their New Testament gospels. Practically all cultures and religions have a similar saying. For example Confucius said, “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” Society is built upon that idea. Ignore that guiding rule and it is societal chaos with everyone for themselves.

That Golden Rule applies not only to individuals, but also communities, town, and even countries. But there’s a group of four young Oxford men looking to break that rule. You see they want to make money first and foremost. And they don’t care who it hurts in the process. Their idea to put in a 100 plus trailer park on 20 acres in Water Valley. The location is 300 feet off Main Street, 600 feet from the Main Street Historic District, directly adjoining the historic Blount-McLarty neighborhood. 

You might ask have not mobile home trailers been zoned out since 2006 and all multiple requests for zoning variances by Valley residents to put in mobile trailers been denied? 


And this Oxford guy plan, with five or more trailers to an acre, isn’t that a much higher density housing than that zoning variance which was protested against by residents and stopped by the city council 2 years ago? 


So what gives? 

Well there are in the city several small areas where mobile trailers are still zoned. One area being 4 acres off Blount St. on Gore Circle that has several mobile trailers on it now. The Oxford guys bought that and 16 additional acres heading south – land that is flood plain farmland sloping to O’Tuck Creek. Those 16 acres in the county. Those two adjoining parcels of land, 4 in the city and 16 in the county are where they want over 100 trailers to go. That’s five trailers per acre at a minimum. 

The crazy thing is some of the same Oxford guys tried to do this in Lafayette County. But they had to go to the Lafayette County Planning and Development board. And that board told them “Yes”, but with a few considerations, those being four trailers per acre, sidewalks, some landscaping and green space. Apparently the group felt those restriction were too much and stopped. 

What were the real reasons the Oxford guys stopped in Lafayette is speculation, but the deal with trailer parks is that they’re very profitable enterprises. There have a high return on money invested. Pretty much the consistently highest in real estate. They are the payday loan business model of housing. And trailer parks have reached a saturation point, because many communities don’t want that type of housing anymore. There is even a seminar called Mobile Home University run by Frank Rolfe, a businessman who own parks in 16 states. He teaches investors how to profit. Frank freely acknowledges that trailer parks are the choice of last resort in housing and says his investing strategy is a “contrarian bet on a poorer America”. People who attend his three-day seminars are usually folks already making 100k to 200k a year but want a better return on their money. Frank says trailer parks will give that return. As he leads off a tour, his line to the attendees is “Don’t get hung up on appearances,” and he reminds the investors, “Remember you don’t have to live in these homes.” 

Let’s be clear, it is not trailer homes that are the major issue. True they lose value so fast it is hard to really property tax them on value, but if you own one, you know that. Trailers are an inexpensive way to put a roof over your head on land you own out in the county. You won’t get your invested money back and you’ll die if there is a tornado, but they’re cheap and if you’re impatient, they are an option. 

Concentrated together in a town or the edge of town, trailer parks this large suck the value out of the surrounding real estate. Ten to 20  percent drops in value are normal for nearby neighborhoods. And even if your house is far away, your real estate tax dollars are subsidizing trailer parks unequal demands on schools, police and fire, sewer, water, and streets because trailer parks pay very little value based taxes. Because they’re not worth much, even though they cash flow for the owners. Heard last week from a law officer on the prospect of 100 plus trailers coming, he said that’s great for meth and prostitution. Leave it to the police to cut to the chase.

So who are these Oxford guys? Their company is called Golden Wing LLC. It was incorporated last month. The four involved are Dr. Andrew Ross, Hayden Alexander, Josh Matthews, and Turner Barnes. All are in their early 30s and have lived in Oxford for many years. Ross is a dentist along with his wife. Alexander owns the Good Earth Landscape and is on the Oxford City Planning Commission (really). 

Matthews owns Matt-hews Landscape and Maintenance. Barnes co-owns The Barn Trading Company a gardening center.

Pretty sure the Golden Wing guys are not moving to Water Valley. And that’s the comment about the Golden Rule, for even if you don’t live here, you can still care about here. And vice versa. There’s been a long history of beneficial business interchange between Oxford and Water Valley. Heading up from the Valley to Oxford businesses like Fat Possum Records, Hunter’s Hollow, Aune CPA, Crawford Properties, and Mechanics Bank have gone there and made it a far better place. Coming here to our Main Street folks like Marchbanks Properties, Hometown Pizza, Yalobusha Brewing Company and Whippoor-will Hotel all have Oxford owners, but they aren’t absentee in the least.  It has been a beneficial relationship between the two towns.

Trailer parks exploit the poor and are detrimental development for everyone. Golden Wing wants to take what little gold there is held by poor and transient folks and fly the profit back to Oxford. And ignore the Golden Rule.

And the question is for Water Valley and Yalobusha residents and elected officials is if there is a demand or need for such a huge influx of low-level rental housing? Anybody really studied that? Just don’t assume the need is there. My guess is no, the real demand is for mid-level priced houses folks can buy. That’s the kind of answer we need, if we really need one at all, for housing. That’s the pro-active beneficial development that should be encouraged.

So if this concerns you, and it should for I personally feel this runs counter to all the effort made in Water Valley in the last decade, express your concerns to elected officials on the city and county level. They were elected to represent our best interests, not young Oxonian businessmen.  And let your Oxford friends know Water Valley is not their trailer dumping ground. 

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