Sunday, February 1, 2015

Planning Board postpones vote on rezoning of Colonial Country Club site (Video)

Gilchrist argues against re-zoning

The Jackson Planning and Zoning Board postponed a vote on whether to rezone the site of the old Colonial Country Club until the end of February. Colonial LLC asked the city to rezone the property from special use to community mixed-use. Developer Michael Lawrence represented Colonial. The room was packed with Colonial neighbors who opposed the rezoning. Opponents of the petition to rezone submitted over two hundred signatures to the board. Zoning Administrator Ester Ainsworth recommended rezoning the property to community mixed-use.

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
Bob Gilchrist led the charge against the re-zoning effort (He starts at 24:35.). He bluntly and pointedly told the board that the neighbors were "totally against this zoning." He said that if the zoning is approved, Colonial will "have the right to break up the property and sell it" to any developer for any purpose.  He said that would include possible shopping centers, retail, and apartments.  He said only single family residential homes would be consistent with the neighborhood.  He said "they ask us to trust them but we don't trust them."   He said "They said a bunch of half-truths that are not true. We are scared to death of these people."   He also said "We don't need a shopping center. We have plenty of empty spaces up and down the street." 

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. 

Earlier posts:
Residents express concern over Colonial plans at forum.

La. Company to seek re-zoning in January.


Anonymous said...

That property would be functional as a cotton patch, a corn field, a communal garden, a wildlife preserve, a kitty park, or other uses. The present owners could lease it or sell it to any party(s) wishing to undertake another endeavor. Someone will have to pay the taxes, unless the city buys it and undertakes an endeavor. Hold your breath for that to happen.

Anonymous said...

Bo Brown's comment shows their intentions of this property. They are going to put HUD housing there, and will call the property owners bigots until they all sit down and let it pass.

This madison county resident wishes y'all the best. Stay united and don't let them pull the race card. I personally think this would make a nice small gated community of medium sized homes for granny and/or young people. If the green space is preserved properly and it is developed by someone with a vested interest in the community then there's chance for success.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Bo Brown's home is next to Low Income Housing?

I'd bet it isn't.


Anonymous said...

"Mixed-Use" : Some Section 8 apartments, a check-cashing place, a hair-weave place, two liquor stores (one at each end of the street), a barber shop and a tattoo parlor.

Celebrate Diversity!

Anonymous said...

"HUD sometimes requires to integrate low-income people into middle-class neighborhoods so as to stabilize the neighborhoods."

Perhaps the correct word would be destabilize.

Anonymous said...

It needs to be rezoned so somebody, anybody will develop it.

It is not going to be a subdivision with million dollar homes.

Let me tell you a little secret.

Jackson is home to lots of very poor people. There are many more people who make $20,000 a year than $250,000 a year.

Jackson Public schools are a laughing best. A death trap at worst.

Let apartments, condos, hair care centers, strip malls, whatever come in.

Jackson needs the tax money and the professional money (doctor, dentist, lawyer, bank ceo, cpa, etc) left a long time ago folks. They live in Madison and go to Germantown and Madison Public Schools where a kid can learn and live a peaceful existence.

So stop pretending there is an actual infrastructure in Jackson and face the music.

Once everyone realizes there is zero money around, the better off folks will be. Let the developer do what he can to make whatever he can with what is left.

Anonymous said...

Sure, 11:35
Let the developer scrape as much money as he possibly can, and then move on to his next job. I'm sure he has really got the good of the city in his heart, right? Poor people gots to live somewhere, right? After all, why shouldn't Old Canton Road become just another Bailey Avenue?

Anonymous said...

11:35. Feel better now? Feel like a whole person? Contributing or detracting? In the trenches,or lobbing bombs? Volunteering for the greater good? Trying to help the city and her tax base or promoting the half empty glass?

Feel better now and all smug?

Anonymous said...

I take it 11:35 is a racist bigot & thinks that as a White child, going to a majorly Black school is outrageous. Listen, an education is what the child makes of it! A child of any color can attend a failing school district and make A's, and still come out on top ready for college and their adult life.

Anonymous said...

1:09, 1:16, and 1:20

Did 11:35 say anything about race?

Or did you (and I think you are the same person) just decide that it MUST have been racial?

If its race you want to discuss, let's, shall we?

The City of Jackson is 80% African American. Poverty rate is high here in Jackson for AA. If you contest this point, you are not reasonable and you can stop here.

Jackson needs tax dollars. You agree? Move forward.

A developer wants to come in and develop 152 unused acres and put something there which will, hopefully, generate taxes for the City of Jackson. Understand? If not, quit now and shoot yourself.

There is not a demand for luxury homes in Jackson because (among s few things) the public schools are terrible. Academically terrible that is. But, as you point out, the schools are what you make it, and Jackson's AA group has made the school system here deplorable and dangerous. Yes, deadly. Disagree, go away here.

That is why luxury homes are not going to happen.

Now, Section 8? Maybe. How about a mixed use development with some Section 8, some strip malls, and some condos? Some apartments? A police precinct? A rehab center maybe to go with it. Maybe even a birthing center to go along with the high birth rate.

There's nothing "racial" about speaking the truth.

I think its the truth that bothers you and the fact that there is little you can do about it to make it any different.

Anonymous said...

I see a lot of decent people at that meeting. Most them are, if we're talking about numbers, "Low Income". But they, black AND white, are educated, refined people, who have worked hard to acquire what they've got, and to become who they are. These are decent people, who adhere to the norms which keep a civil society civil.

So, for that creep to imply that they are being bigots, for not wanting subsidized rentals introduced into their neighborhood, is cruel to the point of being evil.

What would work on that site, would be a gated subdivision (REALLY gated, with private streets) of small, free-standing homes. Prohibitions against rentals would have to be mandated, to prevent slumlords from invading.

Thousand-foot houses, with two-car garages, would be just-right, in my opinion. I think that the developers would be amazed how quickly those houses would sell - IF the streets were private, and if the gating included access codes or guards. I believe that such homes would sell at a premium.

Anonymous said...

[11:35 pushes back from the keyboard, mutters "Jackson thugs," spits out the remainder of Skoal, and heads to Applebee's for half-price apps. Life in Madison continues unabated.]

Kingfish said...

Reality, don't we also need an app for that?

Anonymous said...

3:51 - comes back to check and see if 11:35 got his "come uppance" from a snide remark 3:51 thought about for over an hour...but he had to look up how to spell Skoal correctly.

What 3:51 does not realize is that a true racist would never ever go to an Applebees as they are usually frequented by lots of AA people.

So, what does that tell us about 3:51?

It tells us he is a mid 30's liberal leaning Jacksonian who is housed near West street in a "fixer upper." He LOVES to get coffee at Sneaky Bean and watch traffic go by because he really doesn't have a "job." Sometimes, when he feels like it, he goes to Cups...just to see who is out and about. Then its off to Rainbow to see the transsexual, say hello, wave at her, makes him feel good about being him.

He also doesn't really know any black people. He didn't grow up with any black people. He thinks black people are treated poorly and he feels that its bad. However, he has never dated a black woman...something not right about her hair and that nose...whats up with that? But he knows that wrong. Does he go to church with black people? No, not really. Lots of reasons..but mainly because he is Godless.

blah blah blah...get a life fella

Anonymous said...

4:30 continues to confirm every reason 3:51 moved out of Madison. 3:51 sits next to 4:30 in church.

Anonymous said...

There is not a demand for luxury homes in Jackson...

Please define your price range for "luxury"?

Anonymous said...

There are several types of mixed-use developments. Duckworth is building one on the East Frontage Rd. at Eastover. Town Colony on Highland Colony is another example. It is desirable in mixed use to have daycare, food sales, maybe a barbershop/beauty parlor, etc. The idea is to mix old and young and make it walkable and liveable with some park area and ample but not dominant parking. Homes are much more compact and open areas for play are shared. Not all mixed use is HUD. Someone must develop the site as the upkeep of that large an area is prohibitive without income. The City does have various types of zoning and the developers should make clear what they are proposing.

Anonymous said...

As a kid many, many years ago I watched this same thing play out with the piece of land at the corner of Ridgewood road and Adkins blvd because my parents lived in the area at the time. The piece of land was nothing but large pine trees that buffered I-55 for surrounding residents. Low and behold a well known developer wanted to develop it and put in a "state of the art" Albertson's grocery store. It was going to be one of a kind, upscale, professionally done, with green space, a real gem for the neighborhood, and all that talk. Zoning meetings were held and residents were upset about development in general for essentially the same reasons as those in this colonial situation. Petitions were signed. Well, the developer won and there was an Albertsons for awhile but with it came traffic off I-55, crime, the usual. The developer moved on to the next project, that's his job. The location currently speaks for itself- Virginia college, unoccupied out of business Fazolis building, oil change place, auto parts store, etc. Point is, history has a way of repeating itself and I suspect this will turn out similarly in the long run, no matter what the short term solution is.

Anonymous said...

9:38 makes a good point...why is it nothing lives in the Albertsons location and surrounding area?

No jobs.

No money.

That place is infested with broke drug dealing people.

Money fled to Madison from the entire area. The neighborhoods going eastward from there look like they've been bombed. Cars on blocks.

This is why luxury homes won't work in Colonial space.

Too much death surrounded by pain with no hope.

Anonymous said...

Define luxury 8:21. Put a price range on it.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't see anything greater than 1200 sq/ft working. There are some nice homes in Carolwood, but most of that area is sub 100K homes.

Anonymous said...

HUD properties are terrible. I had a problem with a drug dealer in a HUD property (Sect. 8 rental) and HUD told me point blank they don't enforce any of their rules.

Anonymous said...

Since Wright and Ferguson shut their doors downtown and Baldwin closed in South Jackson word was they wanted to stay in the Jackson area. What better place for the big box people to open up with a beautiful cemetery especially now since the legislature is going to buy their building.

Anonymous said...

Thousand-square-foot houses with one-car garages; zero-lot-line; 30' x 80' lots; ten-foot perimeter fence; guarded gates.

They would sell every single unit, as soon as it was built, at a premium price.

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