Public hearing on rezoning for proposed StorageMax scheduled on November 7

By MEGAN PHILLIPS,

 

Ridgeland residents will have a chance to sound off on plans to build a StorageMax on Highland Colony Parkway.

The Ridgeland planning and zoning board voted against the rezoning of the site from C-2 to C-3 for a storage unit. Buster Bailey of H.C. Bailey Companies presented the plans September 28, during a planning and zoning meeting

The Ridgeland Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing Tuesday, November 7  that will determine whether a StorageMax will become part of the Highland Colony Parkway business district.

“One vote was for (the rezoning) and five were against,” Planning and Zoning Chairman Bernie Giessner said. “Based on the discussion, there were a few issues…”

For a site to be rezoned, there has to be an issue with the current zoning, C-2, which does not exist, according to Giessner. Secondly, a change in the neighborhood needs to be presented.

“You have to show both of those,” he said.

Costco dirt work, located south of the Old Agency roundabout on the east side of Highland Colony, was given as an example of the changing neighborhood, Giessner said. The Lake Harbour Drive extension, for which construction has not yet begun, was also cited.

“(Costco) can’t be used as an example of a changing characteristic of a neighborhood because it’s not complete. The other reason for changing characteristics was the flyover — that’s been proposed for years and it’s not complete. It cannot be used.”

Costco is zoned as a C-2A commercial site.

The only valid need for the neighborhood that Bailey expressed during the presentation was a need for climate-controlled storage.

“They need to show a need for a C-3 zoning. If there was anything available that would (show a need) for an indoor climate-controlled facility to be built in the area, that would constitute a rezoning.”

Giessner said that to his knowledge, Bailey did not investigate other possible sites for the storage facility.

“In the opinion of most of the members of the planning and zoning board, Bailey did not properly show a change in characteristics of the neighborhood because the examples are not complete.”

 

Giessner said the facility is supposed to be top-notch, but that isn’t a valid reason to approve the rezoning.

“It’s a beautiful facility. It’ll be $5 million or $8 million, but the zoning board can’t deal with what we think will be nice there. We have to deal with what the city zoning ordinance says.”

The planning and zoning board’s vote is not final and is viewed simply as a recommendation to the board of aldermen.

“Now it has to go from there… Sometimes the board will say, ‘Add this and this,’ and applicant can go from there.”

 The StorageMax would be located in a cul-de-sac south of the Costco site on Highland Colony and on the east side of the parkway.

“It doesn’t fit as far as I’m concerned, but we’ll hash it out at the public hearing and have a vote,” Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard said.

A C-2 district is meant “to promote the development of well-planned shopping centers and independent commercial uses within carefully selected areas of the city.”

A C-2A district allows “property zoned general commercial located on arterial streets to have additional permitted uses because of the volume of traffic located in these areas.”

Conditional uses and structures under the C-2A zoning include drive-thru restaurants, convenience stores, convenience grocery stores, service stations and other exceptions.

A C-3 district is meant to “establish specific areas of the development of convenience commercial uses. These uses generate heavier vehicular traffic volumes than uses first allowed in the C-2 General Commercial districts. 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 (emphasis original) residential uses.”

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