|Gilchrist argues against re-zoning|
Mr. Lawrence said he was the only developer to offer a serious bid for the property when he purchased it from Trustmark for $1 million (He starts speaking at 9:50 in video posted below.). The site is 152 acres. He said there is "no other tract of land like this in the Jackson market." He said its "impossible to define what use for a property" that large. He said it was clear to him neighbors did not want apartments or a school built next to their home. He said "at one point we thought about apartments but that now our focus is on townhomes and condominiums. People who actually own that piece of property will have an interest in keeping it up." He said he was willing to sign deed restrictions for public housing and schools but not for apartments in general (52:40) However, he did not mention agreeing to deed restrictions for apartments. Ms. Ainsworth said the nearest mixed-use site was The District at Eastover. However, that project is under construction and the site is only 21 acres. Ms. Ainsworth also said that zoning the property as residential would still leave the door open to Section 8 housing.
|Lawrence addresses board|
Colonial Neighbor Lisa Williams said (starts at 37:15) that "we definitely want this property developed" but the proposed "zoning does not give us any guarantees that their dream will come to fruition because they are not the ones building."
Former developer Bert Green (41:40) opposed the re-zoning as well and said he preferred to see the implementation of a planned unit development (PUD). Mr. Green lives on Carolwood. He said the "developers have no plans for the area. They don't have any solid plans." He said the most recent approvals for mixed-use have been for projects next to I-55. He said that was a "high-use" area and the Colonial site was low-use in terms of traffic. He said the planned land use of Jackson called for the area to be low-density and residential. He said the board should "trust but verify." He said a PUD's can be difficult projects but it would protect the interests of the neighborhoods and set concrete guidelines for the development of the property.
Board member and former City Council member Bo Brown lectured the audience on the opposition to Section 8 housing (56:20). He said he "worked for HUD for several years." He said the homeowners present at the meeting had a "fear of low-income people. HUD sometimes requires to integrate low-income people into middle-class neighborhoods so as to stabilize the neighborhoods." He said "I sense a whole lot of fear among the residents (49:00)" towards low-income people.
The board voted unanimously to postpone a vote on the zoning recommendation until later this month. Chairman Michael Booker directed both sides to try to reach an agreement before the February meeting.
Residents express concern over Colonial plans at forum.
La. Company to seek re-zoning in January.