Costco permits to remain intact

By ANTHONY WARREN,

Developers of the Ridgeland Costco recently won a major victory, thanks to environmental permitting officials, but opponents of plans to bring the wholesale warehouse to Highland Colony Parkway vow to fight on.

Last week, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) permit board refused to pull the permits granted for the construction of the third phase of Renaissance at Colony Park.

Costco would be the development’s anchor tenant.

The permits were needed because the development could impact a nearby navigable waterway and approximately 14 acres of wetlands.

Ridgeland Citizens for Responsible Development (RCRD) asked that permits be revoked because they were granted based on city of Ridgeland zoning changes that were later struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court. 

Steve Maloney, an attorney representing RCRD, said he will likely file an appeal with the Madison County Chancery Court.

The chancery court had previously remanded the matter back to the permit board.

Permits were initially granted in 2016 and required developers to construct a weir and add a flood storage basin to capture runoff from the nearby creek.

The creek, Purple Creek, is considered a navigable waterway, meaning a permit from MDEQ was required before construction could begin.

Meanwhile, a second case involving plans for a Costco fueling center is pending before the state’s highest court.

Earlier this year, the Madison County Circuit Court cleared the way for developers to build the gas station on property across the street from the Costco site.

The store will be located on Highland Colony south of the Old Agency Road roundabout. The store will be located next to Christ Life Church of the Highlands.

Developers had previously hoped to put the gas station in Costco’s parking lot, but zoning changes allowing that action were struck down by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Developers then settled on putting the gas station on appropriately zoned property on the opposite side of the parkway.

The acreage is zoned C-3 commercial, a zoning classification that allows for filling stations. The Costco itself will be located on property zoned C-2.

RCRD is fighting that decision, too, saying the gas station is only able to be put there because the city previously refused allowing a storage facility to locate there months earlier.

Opponents said the decision should be vacated, saying the city blocked the storage facility specifically to allow the gas station to go there.

Further, the group also argued that the decision should be made null and void because two aldermen voting on the matter had a conflict of interest.

The mayor and board of aldermen approved the center’s plans last summer.

Developers couldn’t be reached for comment.

It was unclear when the store would open.

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