Legal battle continues with residents wanting amendments prevented

By ANTHONY WARREN,

The legal battle in the Ridgeland Costco case continues.

And again, the amendments to the city of Ridgeland’s zoning ordinance are being questioned.

Recently, six residents filed suit in Madison County Circuit Court asking the court to overturn the city’s decision to amend its zoning ordinance to prevent storage facilities from being built on C-3 commercial properties.

Opponents argue the amendments were passed specifically to benefit a Costco Wholesale warehouse, which is planning to build a 150,000-square foot store on Highland Colony Parkway.

The six argue that the mayor and board of aldermen are “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 for (a Costco).”

The store is planning to build a remote gas station on a nine-acre parcel of land across the street from the store, on property zoned C-3.

Previously, the city had received a request to build a Storage Max facility on the site.

Earlier this year, however, the application was withdrawn after the city issued a moratorium on storage facilities and then amended its C-3 zoning classification to prevent the structures from being built on sites zoned C-3.

At the time, Mayor Gene McGee told the Sun that the decision was made to ensure the city didn’t’ have too many storage facilities built in the city’s gateway areas.

“We’re getting a handle on it to make sure we don’t have them everywhere, especially where people would have first impressions of the city. We don’t want that to be storage facilities,” he said.

“Since 2014, Mayor Gene McGee and the city of Ridgeland have manipulated zoning laws and ignored legal requirements in order to persuade Costco to come to Ridgeland,” opponents argue.

Among steps, in 2016, the mayor and board narrowly voted to amend its C-2 zoning ordinance to allow gas stations to be included as part of large master planned developments.

That decision was appealed by nine Ridgeland residents, and was struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court. Last week, that decision was on appeal.

Opponents to the store filed a second suit in circuit court after Costco officials announced that they were still coming to the parkway, and looking to build a gas station across the street.

The station would have between 12 and 16 pumps.

 

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