Costco could open in spring; area residents still fighting

The Ridgeland Costco could be welcoming customers next spring.

Meanwhile, residents opposed to the store are still fighting the matter in court.

Developers have applied for and received a permit to clear the Costco site, which is located on the east side of Highland Colony Parkway south of the Old Agency Road roundabout.

“They are moving the dirt on the store site,” said Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee. “I’m not sure when they will be complete. I heard the first quarter of 2019, but as you know, everything is weather dependent.”

The project is being developed by Andrew Mattiace and H.C. Bailey and will be part of the third phase of Renaissance at Colony Park.

Weather pending, construction for the roughly 150,000-square-foot store will take little time.

American Builders Quarterly reports that “new (Costco) warehouses open for business 110 days after the building pad is ready, which is remarkably fast for the industry.”

While contractors were moving forward with site preparations last week, opponents were working to prevent the store from coming in.

In May, six residents filed a complaint in Madison County Circuit Court asking a judge to reverse the city’s decision amending its zoning ordinance to prevent storage facilities from being built on C-3 properties.

Opponents argue the amendments were made to benefit Costco, and to prevent development on a site that the retailer had been eyeing to build a remote gas station.

The appeal was filed by Gerald Beard, Charles Michel, Nils Mungan, Harold Joseph Byrd, George Shepard Jr. and William Aden.

They argue that the mayor and board of aldermen were “acting in direct violation of the law by changing the zoning to benefit a specific business, all in an effort to make available a previously optioned C-3 parcel.”

According to court records, in December 2017, Storage Park Properties filed an application with the city to build a StorageMax facility on C-3 property located across from the proposed Costco site.

Records indicate that at the time, city officials gave no indication that they were opposed to the plans. However, in February, the board of aldermen adopted a moratorium on the construction of new storage facilities, and in early April, narrowly approved amendments to its C-3 zoning classification to prevent the structures.

Following the decision, SPP withdrew its application to build at the site.

McGee told the Sun that the city was taking steps to “make sure we don’t have (storage facilities) everywhere, especially where people would have first impressions of the city.”

The StorageMax would have been located directly across from the Costco.

 

Opponents argue that much like in a previous case, the decision to amend the zoning classification was done to specifically benefit the Costco.

In 2016, nine residents filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court claiming the city had amended its C-2 zoning ordinance to benefit Costco.

The city had previously announced that the store was coming in. The zoning changes were made to allow gas stations on C-2 sites, as long as they were part of “large master planned commercial developments.”

Prior to that, gas stations were not allowed on C-2 sites.

The amendments were upheld by the circuit court and were appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The high court struck down the amendments in a decision handed down on April 19.

Opponents hoped the decision would stop the Costco in its tracks. However, officials with the retailer told the Sun they were still coming in and looking at building the gas station on the site previously being considered by StorageMax.

The city is asking the court to dismiss the case, saying opponents did not file the appeal in the 10 days proscribed by state statute.

“The action by the board took place on April 3, 2018. Plaintiffs were well aware of the action inasmuch as their own council spoke at the public hearing,” according to the city’s response.

Opponents filed the appeal on May 21.

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