On 7/29/15 at 2:00 PM, Mayor Gene McGee hosted a meeting at Ridgeland City Hall with approximately 100 very angry Ridgeland residents to hear their objections to locating a Costco store adjacent to the Natchez Trace Parkway between Highland Colony Parkway & I-55. This is a very historically scenic area. The Mayor gave a history of the zoning of the projected site. The board on 6/2/15 gave numerous variances to C-2 zoning enabling the site conducive to Costco. Mayor McGee denied that a Costco was considering this location & repeated it was only a rumor. The irate residents stuck to their information that the location was fact not rumor.
Residents pointed out that Highland Colony Parkway was only constructed with a 60,000 pound weight limit for trucks & that Costco reportedly confirmed that their stores are supplied with approximately 10-20 80,000 pound trucks daily, plus numerous other service trucks. Ridgeland has posted weight restrictions allowing no 80,000 pound trucks on HCP. The Mayor further stated that the roundabout would remain. Residents pointed out that that would be impossible due to the increased traffic flow.
It was not only the location of the Costco but all the tag along stores that a Costco would bring. Residents objected to I-55 exit 105c & the scenic surroundings becoming like the overly congested East County Line Road. Residents pointed out that this was a very upscale area not conducive to a big box discount store. A Costco would have a very negative impact on all of the merchants along HCP & The Renaissance Mall. The residents were in agreement that a Costco at a different location in Ridgeland may be good & that there were so many other locations around the city that would be far more advantageous to the city & Costco.
Residents were very upset that the Mayor showed more favoritism to a foreign corporation & nonresident developers than he demonstrated to the very electorate he is sworn to serve.
The Madison County Journal also reported on the meeting in the current edition of the newspaper:
Residents in upscale neighborhoods west of I-55 believe city officials are deceiving them about a proposed Renaissance Phase III, arguing there are plans to build a Costco on the Highland Colony Parkway, something most are against.
City Hall last week was filled with residents from neighborhoods such as Bridgewater, Dinsmor and Greenwood Plantation for an informational meeting since rumors of a Costco coming to town surfaced three weeks ago.
Despite city officials citing Parkway history and land-use ordinances, as well as saying no plans mentioning Costco specifically have materialized, residents remain convinced a Costco is being discussed.
The area in question involves both sides of the Parkway south of the Natchez Trace for a mile or more that belonged to the Evans brothers, convicted in 2011 in a mortgage fraud scheme that left banks owning multiple subdivided lots. (See story, page A1.)
"I'm not against (Mayor Gene McGee)," Bridgewater resident Cindy Shackelford said. "I'm against ruining this community and turning us into the next County Line Road."
Shackelford claims leaders have tailored a piece of land east of the Parkway specifically for Costco.
"I'm for Costco, but just not in that location," she said. "I also think it would hurt the businesses of the Renaissance we have now."
A Renaissance Phase III is planned along a section on the east side of the Parkway south of the Natchez Trace and that's where residents fear the Costco will locate.
In April, city officials had indicated that as the Lake Harbour extension to the Parkway is completed, a big box development is slated near Freedom Ridge Park east of I-55.
Shackelford said she wants Costco to come to Ridgeland to increase revenues for the city, but to find a different place.
"We'll start having crime, unbelievable traffic," she said. Shackelford said she and other have begun a letter writing campaign to Costco. Others began a petition and were sending it around on Election Day.
Instead of Costco, she said she wanted to see high-end retail or a Pottery Barn.
Concerns about traffic counts and trucks on the road were a major talking point last week. "If Costco does come and the truck count goes from 6-8 a day to 20 a day...(will Highland Colony Parkway) be able to handle that," John Lundy asked city officials. "What happens if it gets over that?"
Alan Hart, community development director, said Highland Colony Parkway carries 8,000 cars per day and is designed for a capacity of 44,000 cars.... Rest of article.