• 72°

Valley council holds public hearing

VALLEY — The Valley City Council on Monday held a public hearing to discuss a proposed agreement with Holland Homes of Auburn that could result in the building of 300 new moderately-priced homes on the city’s west side off Combs Road.

“Right now, we just want to inform the public that we are looking at this,” said Mayor Leonard Riley. “We won’t be voting on a contract tonight. It’s something we are looking at.”

Should what’s on the table come to fruition, it would undoubtedly be the largest new subdivision in the Valley in many years. The proposed plan would be to build 300 new homes in the $150,000 range. Construction would take place in seven separate phases.

“We would build the infrastructure (streets, water, sewer, lighting, etc.), and they (Holland Homes) would buy the lots and build the new homes.”

A drawing of what’s planned has been posted on the bulletin board just inside the front door of city hall.

Approval of the plan could take place following a second public hearing.

“We could start phase one in January and start selling new homes in April,” Riley said. “It depends on how fast we can have a contract and get it going.”

Holland Homes is owned by Daniel Holland, a native of Springville, and a graduate of Auburn University’s Building Science program. He grew up around residential construction and has been in the building industry for 15 years.

Lead Superintendent Jeremiah Bruce grew up in LaFayette.

“We take pride in the quality craftsmanship that goes into each project here at Holland Homes,” reads the company’s website. “Since opening in 2006, we have worked hard to maintain our reputation of skilled, efficient home builder professionals with great attention to details. We know our customers have high standards for quality, therefore so do we.”

Holland Homes developments in the Auburn-Opelika area include Peartree Farms, The Cottages at Cloverleaf, Northwoods, Hidden Lakes, The Farm at Wimberly and Twin Forks Townhouses. The Preserve at Stoney Ridge is one of their developments on Lake Martin.

In a move related to future development of the Combs Road site, the city on Monday accepted from the county the authority to control, supervise, regulate, repair, maintain and improve certain streets formerly under control of the county. The site had previously been annexed by the city.

The proposed residential development would border an industrial park that’s getting close to being ready to bring in new industries. New water lines are awaiting some testing before they can go into service. The new water tank off Fairfax Bypass is also getting close to going in service. A new pump house off 55th Street has been completed and is ready to supply water needs for the industrial park.

The mayor was pleased with the work that’s been going on at the John Soules Foods plant.

“Their local investment is up to the $105 to $110 million range,” he said. “They are good about hiring local contractors, people like Batson-Cook, BEC (Brumfield Electrical Contractors) and Hydro Operations. They are shooting for July 1 of next year as their start up date.”

The 266,000-square-foot building off Towel Avenue is undergoing a major upgrade to get ready for processing in 2021.

Headquartered in Tyler, Texas, John Soules Foods will have its third meat processing facility in Valley come next year. There’s also a plant in Gainesville, Georgia. John Soules Foods is the largest fajita company in the U.S. The company is widely known for producing ready-to-eat beef and chicken meals for families that don’t have time to cook. The company is famous for its Angus Beef Fajitas, Chicken Fajitas, Certified Angus Beef Steak and All Natural Chicken Breast Strips.

The Valley plant would have in excess of 200 employees when the first production line gets started next July. Two more lines will be added in the coming years to boost employment to past 500.

The new plant will likely be the most technically advanced facility under the John Soules Foods name.