Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Ridgeland Aldermen approve "Costco" zoning amendment. Emails show discussions between Costco and city since March 2014

The Ridgeland Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 last night to approve an amendment to its zoning ordinances that allowed C-2 zoning include service stations. An overflow crowd filled City Hall last night. The Board of Aldermen voted to approve a similar amendment in June 2015. The amendment was a concession to Costco as the company told Ridgeland it was crucial that the city change its zoning laws so it could operate a gas station at the proposed site for a proposed store on Highland Colony Parkway. However, no public notice was made about the June 2015 hearing and several Ridgeland residents sued the city in November. The conscript fathers of Ridgeland chose to have another hearing and issued the proper notices. Alderman Ken Heard moved to repeal the June 2015 amendment and revert to the prior zoning ordinance. Alderman D.I. Smith seconded the motion. However, the motion died on a 4-3 vote and the Board voted 4-3 to approve the proposed ordinance last night.


Here is the actual vote and discussion:



Here is the portion of the time allotted to opponents of the amendments. Part of the time was taken up by attorneys and a city planning expert while the remainder was used by Ridgeland residents. This video is the regular folks voicing their opinions. The video of the rest of the hearing will be posted later. The meeting wasn't over until nearly 10:00 PM last night and it takes a while to download, process, and then upload 8 gb of video.



The opponents presented a timeline that contains some very interesting information culled from emails obtained through public records requests.



The proposed amendment.



Meanwhile, here is one batch of emails.  I am posting this blind as I simply have not had the time to go through it and won't be able to do so until tonight.  Feel free to dig through it and comment away.  The JJ readers are a crackerjack team of sleuths.


58 comments:

Second The Motion said...

Who is the goober on the left who keeps dropping things, repositioning his glasses and wiping down the back of his head with his hand?

And, D.I., where the hell do you buy those High-Water Britches? Target?

Anonymous said...

Guess all the opposition will now know who was serving as the mayor's snitch... Going to be some awkward block parties!

Johnny Weir said...

I'm READY to start shopping at COSTCO. Bring it on!

Anonymous said...

Seems DI has changed his tune. He was for it, before he was against it. He kept residents in the dark.

Anonymous said...

Ramsey too. He's already run against the Mayor and lost once, so...

Anonymous said...

D.I Smith stands strong come hell, high water, or the Viet Cong.

Anonymous said...

Went to the relatively new Costco in New Orleans recently. One of the most beautiful retail stores Ive ever seen. Clean, well stocked, superior customer service. Get this - they have a system that keeps track with members as they enter the building. The system uses data and historical trends to tell them how many registers to have open. Guess what - when we were ready to check out, no line was more than two deep.

Sam's on a Saturday afternoon takes 30 minutes to get through the line, giving you plenty of time to stare at the open registers and employees doing nothing.

Before moving to Madison, we had lived in an area with a Costco. The travel benefits are so good that we kept our membership up. Cannot wait to have one locally.

Anonymous said...

Only thing this sordid affair misses is Supercop Daniel Soto.

Anonymous said...

the precedent was set many years ago when the butler snow building went up despite zoning regulations that said otherwise.

Anonymous said...

build it now--its something the jackson area needs and wants. highland colony was built for commercial endeavors!

Anonymous said...


Buster Bailey never fails to get what he wants. I've heard him brag about the Butler Snow Building---he never stopped construction during the law suit. What a great example of a Mississippi business leader.

Messick said...

10:09,

Holy Hell. Unless you have no grasp of taste or simply piss-poor taste, Costco is NOT a 'beautiful' retail store. It's a damn industrial building with warehhouse lighting, surrounded by acres of asphalt.

Who's paying you to write this??

Anonymous said...

Hart in response to Mattiace: "Don't take your foot off the gas pedal! This car has special tires that are matched to the pavement surface. Go fast!!!!"

Good god-a-mighty. Some government by and for the people...

Anonymous said...

Pg 49: Gene Mcgee: "We need to cut this off at the pass."

Oh Good - Three Lanes Open said...

No matter the venue, or where in the world it is, it will eventually mirror the personality and aura of those who visit, shop, live or move about around it.

Pick one! You can drop the Taj Mahal in the middle of Canton and within three years it will resemble a Texaco rib hut selling two dollar sun glasses and little shot glasses emblazoned with magnolia blossoms.

So, for the guy who thinks New Orleans Costco is a beautiful destination venue, hang on you your silk shopping shorts.

Anonymous said...

It has to go through with Bailey. Probably owes people money. Come on Costco. we need some big buildings that will be empty in 10-15 years

Anonymous said...

It seems Alan Hart has a habit of tracking who citizens work for. Looking through people's water records. Checking other county records. All in response to opinion emails. WTF?!?

There is a total air of contempt for citizen views in all these emails. It's clear Hart, Monohan, and McGee are doing the bidding of Costco not Ridgeland citizens. People need to read this email dump from start to finish. So many lies.

And DI - running your Costco email responses through McGee and Hart on 8/14/2015. Don't act now like you were in the dark on all this.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know if there is a recall provision in Ridgeland? What is the process to remove the mayor?

Anonymous said...

Were there any citizens there in support of Costco?

Anonymous said...

Yes, 1:04. We're just harder to spot 'cause we don't yell and interrupt.

Anonymous said...

KF, is there a record of who voted yes and who voted no ?

Anonymous said...

Funny thing about supporters of the Costco location. The emails above show them touting a whopping 23 supporters by name who called/wrote. Meanwhile there were hundreds upon hundreds signing a petition against. Guess who they listen to...

Anonymous said...

Man how much are they paying the alderman? D.I. can't even afford pants that fit him.

Anonymous said...

Emails are DAMNING. The moles & informants have been outed. Payback is gonna be a bitch neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Just glanced down the emails...is Steve king the one who was passing along the emails (the mole)? Is that the same Steve King that works for Yates?

Anonymous said...

Leave D.I. alone. He made a bad decision based on intimidation, but he is a GOOD man. And here's the funny thing, 3:08, there are hundreds upon hundreds who are for it, but they don't want the backlash from those who don't. They don't sit at churches and polling places to collect signatures. They have lives.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody reached out to Costco to see if they will still move to (gasp) MISSISSIPPI? Where the leftists think that they will never be able to get operations again because they look different?

Anonymous said...

To all the snooty, airheaded residents around the Highland Colony location - get over it. You moved into an area that was surrounded by a commercial development; one that paid for the construction of that fine road that leads to your nice neighborhood.

The City did what cities do; worked with a potential commercial entity to bring them to an appropriate area of the city.

Costco is not a negative; you could get a Dollar General instead. Yes, it will be a big building, but so would a Lowes or a Home Depot. And the only difference in them is that they wouldn't be putting in a service station as part of their facility.

I'm glad Ridgeland leaders have the balls to stand up to these loud mouthed airheads and put this commercial business into their commercial development. For all you that don't like it and want bike trails, trees, squirrels and possums, go buy the land and let it stay pristine. If you aren't willing to pony up the dollars to buy it from the folks that own it, shut the fuck up.

Anonymous said...

Ken Heard, D. I. Smith, and Brian Ramsey voted to rescind the zoning changes made in June, 2015, and not take up further zoning changes.

CHUCK GAUTIER, SCOTT JONES, KEVIN HAMLIN, and WESLEY HAMLIN voted against the interests of the citizens of Ridgeland and FOR the zoning changes that will change the intent of C-2 zoning.

Anonymous said...

Service Stations? So, with the new zoning, there is nothing to stop multiple oil companies from planning service station developments along the parkway. I'm sure the zoning does not say the service station has to be connected to and part of a large retail establishment. Look for them.

Not a grocery store (other than the small, high dollar craft grocery outlet) within miles but you can plop down service stations and big box empires.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 5:04, that would be the same Steve King. Rumor has it he is moving to Florida; I would say that is excellent timing.

Anonymous said...

Second the motion, the goober on the left would be Wes Hamlin.

Anonymous said...

5:50 I could not have said it better.

After reading the emails, I feel a little sick. These folks really believe that their income gives them the right to so much special treatment from government. Loved the "special snowflake" that reminded the Mayor that the people complaining made more than him, what an idiot. I hate I did not make the list of people in favor, I should have put it in writing and not just told the Mayor and everyone else I have talked to.

Some of us on the (gasp) east side of Ridgeland would have probably had a little more compassion for the west side, had they not been such assholes, the meetings were a circus and they were the monkeys. There are many of us, on this side, that live in nice houses, pay high taxes on those houses and can bet our wedding bands that those "west folks" would be just fine with a Costco in our back yard. Because, you know, we are not as SPECIAL. The bridge is burned and we will not be crossing back over to help them out.

To the Mayor, keep on keeping on, take it all the way.

Now wait for the comments about envy.........3,2,1........

Anonymous said...

And so it goes. Those that believe that living in a gated mega-neighborhood (of which there are several) grants them the authority to decide city business don't take it well when progressives make decisions that are best for ALL the residents. I'm so over those that care only about their own little piece of earth without regard to anyone else - esp. those that think they are better than other Madison residents. Costco is a fabulous store with great employees, management and products. They will bring a ton of money into Ridgeland for improvements and will keep taxes low. Take a deep breath, you're McMansions will be just fine, and your kids will not be scarred because a big box moved a mile or two away. Whatever, peeps.





Anonymous said...

I thought Goober lives in Canton. Micha Goober were are you.

Anonymous said...

6:06 that would Kevin HOLDER

Anonymous said...

What's THE PREACHER getting out of all of this?????

Anonymous said...

5:50 7:25 7:55 all Alan Hart postings? Sounds about like it. I'd be defensive too.

Anonymous said...

D.I. Does a good job of putting on a front for the tax payers, but when away from public eye he is a different man. He is not what you think he is. He is a pretender that plays the ex military card and a conservative. However he was all for this development and was in the loop from the beginning!!!! There is a good audio recording of DI from a meeting early on that will soon come out to expose his crooked lying ass!!!!

Anonymous said...

My Alderman, Chuck Gautier, voted in my interest.

Anonymous said...

5:50; 7:25; 7:55
Thanks for reminding us that the mayor paid upwards of $30,000 last year to Edgetheory LLC to monitor blogs and social media and "take ownership" and spin discussions. Congratulations on scoring the 2016 contract. You're doing a great job working that shovel.

Anonymous said...

At this point it would be hard to deny a tattoo parlor or a Danny's from opening on the parkway. The law doesn't smile on arbitrary zoning decisions....called spot zoning. Do enough of these sweetheart deals and see what happens when you try to turn down somebody outside of the family.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I recently moved to Ridgeland. I must confess, I had no idea the people here were so petty. When this whole business first came out, I genuinely thought that the residents that were complaining had been caught sleeping and didn't realize that the zoning at the property in question allowed a Costco. But then I read how the mayor had told lies about his knowledge of Costco; then I learned that the Board of Aldermen had voted to altar the zoning to custom fit a Costco, all the while denying that it had anything to do with Costco; then I learned that they had also had the location deemed "resort status" (allowing all night bars and music etc,), NOT for Costco but so that the developers could pocket $30 million from the MDA. Now I am reading emails that clearly indicate that the custom fit zoning had everything to do with Costco, proving once again that our city leaders lied. Folks, if this arrogant behavior on the part of our elected officials doesn't scare you to death as well as make your blood boil then I really need to talk to you about some ocean view property in Montana, because when you arrive there and there is no ocean, you won't mind a bit. A Costco in Ridgeland at this location may be the best thing since sliced bread but the ends do not justify the means. Don't think for a fleeting moment that this can't happen to any or all of us living in Ridgeland. This is not about Costco; it's about right and wrong. Any one that doesn't see that has simply chosen to ignore the facts. I love my new home but frankly, I am second guessing my decision to move here. The most heart breaking part is the petty contempt that has been displayed toward our fellow Ridgelandnites rather than holding the elected officials accountable. Very very sad.

Anonymous said...

No. 9:05. Though I agree with all 3 that you are calling out, you probably know too that Mr. Hart doesn't use that kind of language. Accept that people support the City and a Costco.

Anonymous said...

I want to say how grateful I am to Brian Ramsey, D.I. Smith and Ken Heard. Thank you for trying to get the rest of the board to step back and start over. It was a wise recommendation in light of all that has happened and I am extremely disappointed that either ego or ignorance prevented the remaining board members from voting to give our city an opportunity to heal.

Anonymous said...


Seriously. Ridgeland is LOST. Thanks to Gene McGee. Why are used condoms found on the bike paths in the morning Gene? Hookers in Wendover get busted next.

Anonymous said...

8:52 The PREACHER preaches at the church that the developers want to buy so that Costco can have direct access to the Lake Harbour flyover. And The PREACHER is Wesley Hamlin's mentor aka ADVISOR.

Anonymous said...

Cities and suburbs, especially, need a stable residential tax base. It doesn't matter if the residents are arrogant or not. It matters that you keep the property values and median incomes as high as possible.
Business development is all well and good but a city should have buffer zones to protect residential areas.
Of course a city needs businesses and they can attract residents.
But, there has to be a balance and development should be well thought out.
The elected officials and our State legislators should study what works and what doesn't work.
There's thousands of years of information about why some cities continue for centuries and why those that once thrived failed. Patterns of self-destruction become obvious over time.
It's our elected official's job to get unbiased information upon which to make decisions. Sadly, the socio-economic ignorance of our elected officials is shocking!
Decisions are being based on quick cash and political expediency for a few in the short term without any regard to the future whatsoever. It's a shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves mentality based on greed and not anything else. If you don't build things to last, they won't last. If you don't plan for the future, you won't have what is needed to move forward. It's pretty much that simple. It's why we used to read The Three Little Pigs and Henny Penny to our children.

Money Changers And The Temple said...

This being a 'white church', the preacher is simply an employee. He doesn't stand to personally benefit from sale of the church land for this development. Had it been an MB church, palms would have been greased to the tune of thousands.

The Mayor and Aldermen, on the other hand.....

Anonymous said...

9:53 nice try. You've been here. Miz Dr. Bush maybe? Same ol made up rambling story.
Really, 10:25? How sick of you. I'm sure the ladies of Wendover appreciate that!!!
Dramatic housewife at 6:40am, you got plenty of buffer.
6:46am your racist comment speaks volumes!

5:50 here said...

No. I am not a social media spokesperson for anyone. In fact, I don't live in or around the wonderful neighborhood that feels it is entitled to live in their wooded area and keep all the land around it that they don't own or control as their own little park. I live a stone's throw (actually, probably two throws) from where I wish Costco had landed on the Smith Wills property, but our 'saviour', the controller (or wanna be) of all that is sacred, Dilbert, put a quash to the project here.

I would have loved to have Costco locate there. Would it have added some traffic? Probably so, but Lakeland/Hwy 25 is a major artery so as a nearby resident I would expect it too. Just as it did when they played baseball at SW; or have events at the Ag Museum. Would it have added good tax revenue to my city? Absolutely. Would it have offered a new shopping opportunity? Again, absolutely. Once it gets built on HC, I plan to shop there for certain items and will leave my tax dollars in Ridgeland rather than Jackson.

Just as some of my neighbors fought the McD's that is on the corner of Lakeland/Ridgeland. Afraid that its presence would be a detraction to the neighborhood. Now five years later, nobody notices except for those folks lined up every morning for the biscuit and coffee. Lakeland is a commercial strip and we should expect commercial enterprises there. Same as Highland Colony. The houses in Eastover, just as the houses in Dinsmore are separated from those commercial enterprises and should get over their entitlement attitude.

Keep your smart ass thinking that everything put here that doesn't agree with your opinion is coming from the Mayor or the City. Many of us have our own opinions, and one of them is we recognize that our shit actually stinks. Too bad you can't recognize that about your Dinsmore located rear ends.

Anonymous said...

@10:00 stopped reading at your second sentence. I figured as much.

Anonymous said...

Since you are soooo good at smelling shit it is odd you'd ding Eastover for opposing the proposed Sonic when the whole made up fuss was actually about kissing the arses over at River Hills. Once River Hills got their 'please shutup' TIF payoff -- as nonconforming a use for a TIF as you can find -- the skids got greased for the McDonald's.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing to me that none of our elected officials seem to understand that you can negotiate with commercial developers to keep the business from adversely affecting nearby neighborhoods. You can do that by keeping the lighting below tree level and having landscape barriers and generally trying to have the building and grounds not be an eyesore. It happens everyday in cities and towns that are prospering.
It may be shocking but those who have to work in commercial buildings appreciate going to work in a place that isn't tacky.
And, whether you want or don't want Costco, why do you want elected officials who lie to you? If it's a good idea and won't ruin your property values, they should be able to tell you why you need not be concerned.

Anonymous said...

11:23, obviously you know not of what you speak. The residents of the Ridgewood/Lakeland area fought not only the McDonalds, but also the DOR building and the Costco. They didn't want anything that disturbed their little corner of the world just like the pricks in Dinsmore think they deserve whatever they demand. Thank the good Lord that the McD's got thru, even though they killed the Costco.

Anonymous said...

There you go again. The opposition to the DOR building was an astroturf event totally ginned up by the downtown crowd, some of whom live in Eastover and/or nearby. They rallied "the troops" in opposition but not remotely out of altruism. It was common insider knowledge that DOR was going to move out of the metal dump being rented, somewhere, and they were hellbent on making sure it was into Jackson's dying downtown. Their hissy fits, repleat with Millsaps biz school "studies", in the subsequent years to force DOR into the Landmark at price points far in excess of the pennies Hertz paid for the shell was only a continuation of the same. The Costco was never going into Jackson. That was a feint but you wouldn't know the difference.

Anonymous said...



"10:09, Holy Hell. Unless you have no grasp of taste or simply piss-poor taste, Costco is NOT a 'beautiful' retail store. It's a damn industrial building with warehhouse lighting, surrounded by acres of asphalt. Who's paying you to write this??"
April 6, 2016 at 11:29 AM

I agree. Apparently, 10:09 hopes we're too stupid to do a Google Image Search. It took me maybe twenty seconds to find images of the New Orleans Costco. Just as you said, it is NOT a "beautiful retail store".

Anonymous said...

9:32. I am so sorry. Please let me apologize. Obviously you know all there is to know about anything and everything, and nobody else has a clue. I will be a nice obiedent servant and not try again to inject anything that conflicts with your total knowledge and understanding of everything - particularly that of NE Jackson and also of commercial and governmental development.

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