Gas stations are few and far between on the west side of the interstate in south Madison County.
The only gas station in the area is on the corner of Mississippi Highway 463 and Highland Colony Parkway.
However, Madison and Ridgeland city officials say there is room for more gas station development in both municipalities, but no one has brought forward a proposal to either city.
“There’s property that’s zoned for it (on Highland Colony Parkway),” Ridgeland city planner Matt Dodd said. “We just haven’t had anyone come to build it.”
In both Ridgeland and Madison, gas stations are allowed in C3-zoned commercial or conditional use districts. They’re also allowed in mixed-use districts in Ridgeland.
According to the Ridgeland zoning ordinance, a convenience C3 district is meant “to establish specific areas for the development of convenience commercial uses. These uses generate heavier vehicular traffic volumes… The uses first permitted in this district tend to generate more noise and litter than general commercial uses. These districts are appropriate for location near the intersections of arterial streets, well away from ANY residential uses.”
Climate-controlled storage facilities, car washes and vacuum cleaner stations, quick car care clinics, and free-standing game rooms are allowable under conditional use commercial development in Ridgeland.
Mixed use developments can include homes, retail and office space in one area. They are meant to “encourage additional street level activity, reduce automobile trips, create a ‘sense of place,’ provide for the efficient use of land and services, allow for a mix of land uses which strengthens opportunities for economic vitality, provide transitions to adjacent neighborhoods and commercial areas,” among other purposes.
“There’s property available for someone to propose something, we just haven’t had someone make that proposal,” Dodd said.
In Madison, there are two locations on the west side of the interstate zoned for C3 development where a new gas station can be implemented: the Baptist healthplex site and the Park Place Boulevard carwash.
However, Madison Community Development Director Kianca Stringfellow said both of those areas have been planned out, and no one has brought forth a gas station proposal for either site.
“Gas stations are allowed as a conditional use in a C3,” she said. “Outside of Colony Crossing, the only other C3 zoning is the Baptist site and where the carwash is located on Park Place Boulevard.”
The Madison zoning ordinance describes C3 districts as providing “relatively spacious areas for the development of vehicle-oriented commercial activities which typically require direct auto traffic access and visibility from major thoroughfares, including Interstate 55, Mississippi Highway 463, and U.S. Highway 51, excluding Highland Colony Parkway and the Old Madison District. This district is intended to encourage those commercial activities which function relatively independently of intensive pedestrian traffic and proximity to other commercial establishments.”
Stringfellow said there is also a C2-zoned district across from Fairfield that is commercially developable, but C2 does not allow for gas stations or convenience stores.
According to the Madison zoning ordinance, C2 general commercial districts are meant to “promote the development of well-planned shopping centers and independent commercial uses within carefully selected areas of the city of Madison. The commercial activities permitted in this district include uses of a higher intensity than those first allowed in… (C1).”
“The only C3 is where the Exxon gas station is, the carwash and on the Baptist site. Most of the Baptist site has already been developed… ”