Not Enough?

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Developer Clint Herring is banking on a series of protective covenants/deed restrictions to garner support for his efforts to rezone Meadowbrook Office Park.

However, even with Herring’s proposed restrictions, there is still some discord among residents opposed to the plan.

Herring is seeking to rezone the Meadowbrook park from commercial and residential to CMU-1, or community mixed-use.

He said the new zoning will position him to make the office park more competitive with newer developments.

Opponents, though, say the new zoning will increase traffic, extend hours of operation and potentially impact nearby neighborhoods.

The Jackson city council approved Herring’s plans to rezone the office park’s two parcels along Meadowbrook Road, but tabled his petition to rezone three others to the November meeting to give him time to address neighbors’ concerns.

Among concerns, residents in Meadowbrook East are worried about Herring’s plans to develop a parking lot just north of them. They’re worried that with any large-scale development there,  streets in their neighborhood would be opened up to allow for additional access to the site.

Meadowbrook East is located east of the office park and includes three streets: Autumn Ridge Drive, Winwood Drive and Meadow Knoll Drive. Meadow Knoll dead-ends into the parking lot in question. Autumn Ridge dead-ends into an undeveloped property next to the parking lot.

Herring is proposing “certain access restrictions” on Meadow Knoll and Winwood but would not elaborate on what those restrictions would be.

He also is proposing limiting any construction at the parking lot to three stories and limiting the site to assisted living, retirement or residential condominiums.

The parking lot is currently zoned R-4, for high-density residential. A variance approved for the property years ago allows for an apartment building of up to 10 stories, or 120 feet in height.

CMU zoning limits buildings with frontage on public streets with 100 feet or more of public right-of-way to 90 feet tall. Other buildings within a CMU area are limited to 45 feet, or four stories.

Herring declined to provide a copy of the covenants but said the Sun could obtain them from the city. The Sun’s open record request had not been filled at press time. 

Even with the covenants, some residents are still opposed to Herring’s plans.

Estelle and Mike Mockbee told the city council they were opposed to the rezoning, because the mixed-use classification would allow in hotels, restaurants and retailers – establishments that stay open much later than the businesses there now.

“We’re not used to that,” Estelle Mockbee said. “We just don’t think the new land use rules are appropriate.”

Herring would not comment on the Mockbee’s concerns or say whether he was proposing rules to address them.

Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote and Ward Seven Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay both support the rezoning plans.

Lindsay has seen the covenants and said they’re very “neighborhood-compatible.”

Foote supports the measure, because it will make the office park more competitive with developments like the District at Eastover. The District, another mixed-use development, is located south of the Meadowbrook Office Park on Eastover Drive and the I-55 frontage road.

It includes banks, restaurants, a hotel, apartments and office spaces.

It also is home to one of Meadowbrook’s former tenants, the Baker Donelson law firm, which relocated there in 2016.

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