Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wall Street Journal slams Ridgeland

Today's Wall Street Journal editorial chastised Ridgeland for violating the property rights of apartment owners:

The Ridgeland suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, is using its property code to get rid of older apartment complexes with an eye toward reducing rental properties in the city. In 2014 the town rezoned sections of Southeast Ridgeland from multifamily to mixed-use, forcing many buildings into noncompliance.

The targets include the Baymeadows apartment complex whose residents are more than 80% minority. The city claims the area is blighted but few residents agree. The property owners have been renovating the units and grounds that include a gazebo area and swimming pool.

Under the city’s plan, within some six years the owners will have to close the complex and tenants will have to vacate. Unlike eminent domain actions that undergo legal review and must compensate property owners, the amortization and zoning ploys legislate away property rights without compensation. Baymeadows will lose both the future income revenue from the apartment rentals and the value of the underlying asset. Who wants to buy a property whose units would likely have to be bulldozed to comply with new zoning rules?

Ridgeland’s action is already the subject of several federal and state lawsuits, including one from Baymeadows, alleging the law violates due process and represents an unconstitutional taking. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed an administrative complaint charging that the town’s action represents “unlawful discrimination based on race.”

Eminent domain is often abused for the benefit of private interests, but many states have pushed back and passed laws to protect property owners. Cities are now using amortization and zoning to accomplish the same end, but the Constitution bans takings without “just compensation.” Courts are the last stand against this government abuse. Rest of editorial.

Kingfish note: Oh, what a tangled web the Mayor wove.  He voted or approved most, if not all, of these complexes.  Now he is seeing what happens when there are too many apartment complexes and doesn't know what to do.  


Anonymous said...

Good. I'm glad Ridgeland got called on the carpet for their abuse of power.

Where's D.I.? said...

Look for D.I.Smith to head for the bleachers on this one. Underneath them, that is. He was for Costco before he was against it before he was unopposed before he sought neutrality before he said he needs more information. Now this danged ole apartment thing gets in the way of arbitrary government.

Right now he's trying to figure out if he can run for Madison County Supervisor again and escape the tough job of making a decision in Ridgeland. Andy has abandoned D.I. Espy won't return his calls. but there's no way MadCo will take him back.

Meanwhile, apartment-creep continues to envelop the city like The Blob that ate Cincinnati and they won't even let D.I. use the black Escalade.

Anonymous said...

The legislature should approve a regional authority to take control of all zoning decisions of the City of Ridgeland.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the ratio of multi family dwellings to single family dwellings is excessive in the Ridgelsnd community, I believe even more strongly in the rights of property owners. Good grief! What you have just described here is socialism at its worst. And I am once again appalled at the Ridgeland mayors audacity to think for a fleeting moment that this is an acceptable course of action. Is there any law sacred to this man? I would just love to know how he would feel if the government arbitrarily stepped in and took over his insurance business and his hone without compensation. It's this kind of "the ends justify the means' behavior that has the American people so angry. This is a perfect example of some one that has been corrupted by having too much power for too long. Scary, scary stuff. I sincerely hope that this doesn't land him in jail.

Anonymous said...

Question: isn't this Scott Jones ward? The same Scott Jones that called the west Ridgeland residents "career objectors, elitist and easily replaced."? The same Scott Jones that has been the mayors mouthpiece regarding the Costco illegal re-zoning? Has this man no concience whatsoever? All this time I had assumed that it was just the successful folks he despised but apparently I was mistaken. He doesn't "steal from the rich and give to the poor;" he just steals from the rich AND the poor. Somebidy please tell me my facts are wrong and this is not Alderman Jones ward.

Anonymous said...

I am glad it is not turning into Jackson

Anonymous said...

1;46 Its already there. Failing schools, lawsuits coming down, crime on the rise, murders....

Anonymous said...

Which Ridgeland schools are failing 4:19?

Anonymous said...

The Ridgeland Mayor and Aldermen have put the entire citizenry of Ridgeland at risk by their shenanigans with zoning. They need to go back to Government 101. Government should be by the peopl,e for the people, and of the people. They think it's for the Mayor and Aldermen and a few of their influential friends!

Anonymous said...

I too would prefer a higher ratio of homeowners to apartment dwellers in Ridgeland, but you can't just ignore the law in trying to accomplish that. The Mayor and Aldermen have put Ridgeland citizens in a position of having to use our tax dollars to defend their illegal actions.

A New Day In Community Development said...

1:02 - While I appreciate your concern for the rights of property owners, I, in fact, have a parallel concern for the rights of neighbors. If the only thing that mattered was the rights of property owners, there would be no such thing as zoning; people could do whatever they wanted with their land without regard for the community. Every town would look like Pearl. The whole world would be highway 49 through Richland and Florence.

When we totally defer to the 'rights of property owners', what we have is zoning and neighborhood cohesion run amok, in fact, absent. Then we have developers of the opinion that zoning be damned, cram four houses onto the lots that have been zoned for one house. Put another convenience store over there even though there are already five within a mile. Drop another storage building there regardless of the fact that it will back up to three neighborhoods full of people who thought they had some privacy.

There comes a time (rather quickly) when the rights of property owners is not the automatic ruling factor. You're seeing that concept emerging now in communities and counties where consideration of all effected people is on the table. The developer with money now realizes he and his lawyer are no longer the only two at the table.

Anonymous said...

You're seeing that concept emerging now in communities and counties where consideration of all effected people is on the table.

Name the communities and counties.

Anonymous said...

Do you feel the same way 6:02 PM about the Mayor and Alderman putting Ridgeland taxpayers in a position of having to use tax dollars to defend their illegal spot zoning actions?

Anonymous said...

6:03. Zoning is essential. I don't think any one is arguing that here. The concern is when the government takes your property away from you without compensating you which is essentially what Ridgeland is doing to the apartment owners. The investors
have tried their best to comply with all that the city has required. They bought the property on good faith and then the city changed all the rules. I Can't imagine you would be happy if some one took your home or business from you with NO compensation. I understand the need for adverse possession but that's not what's happening here. Again. Zoning is essential but not what is being discussed here.

Anonymous said...

Someone's about to get PAID!

Bend over Ridgeland taxpayers!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 9:43pm. A city must have a means to deal with abandoned property that becomes a health and safety hazard to the community. And, they need to be able to deal with those who profit as slum lords and don't adequately maintain property.
But, the owner should have notice and be able to work out a feasible plan with the city to bring the property up to a reasonable standard/code that protects everyone.
There is no theory until which this sort of unlawful seizure is acceptable.

Anonymous said...

To point something out that hasn't been addressed in this thread. This article could be written this way: " Citizens of Apartments plead for City's help in slum apartments". These apartments have been crap for 20 years and the owners have been cashing in on HUD payments. There have been hundreds of citations issued to the Owners and their response is to add a gazebo and a pool? HUD tenants are money in the bank. For example, buy a house in West Jackson/Canton for $10k. Do $5k in improvements and boom; HUD renters will live in your home and you will get a check every month on the 1st-5th. Multiply that by 10 or so apartments per building with 30-40 buildings. Now factor out, update costs, new carpet, Sheetrock, countertops, flooring; nah I won't update them until I get hundreds of tickets from the City. And now The Owners are surprised The City wants them gone? Tear that trash down and get the tenants out of those rat holes.

Anonymous said...

Brandon is next. The city has piled on many fee's and undo hardships on rental property owners in an effort to keep "undesirable" people out. It is just a matter of time before someone takes them to task.

Anonymous said...

Flowood allowed too many apartments too.

Soon "poor" people will be all over Dogwood.

Anonymous said...

7:19 - Madison, Madison County, Tupelo, Lee County, D'Iberville, Hernando, Southaven, Gulfport.

I know you're a lawyer who can't see past the end of his legal pad, but, all is not lost and we no longer all defer to your bullshit guidance and threats.

Since when is it poor government and abuse of power to consider the good of many over the greed of few? There's always a lawyer out there who will try to turn this into a Title IX, HUD, Discrimination or white on black issue - or one of an oppressed property owner who is denied use of his property; however, in reality, this is about development and coddling of slums and zoning-creep.

And it's not about race, sex, gender identification or national origin. It's about non-contributors, regardless of demographics, who sleep through the morning, contributing very little (if anything) to a community founded and developed by those who do contribute and have lifetime stakes in the community.

Anonymous said...

Ok. This is going to sound a bit crazy but I am just asking, not promoting so don't everybody go crazy. Would Jackson want to take the apartments that Ridgeland doesn't want? Aren't they right on the line? If Ridgelsnd and Jackson could work out a deal, would everybody win? Again. Just asking, please keep responses intelligent, not snarky. Please!

8:03 am. By the way, I have ridden through those apartments lately and most of them look very nice. Nicer than a lot of the homes surrounding them. Are we going to take the homes too? There just seems to me there has to be a better way to do this.

Anonymous said...

Hind sight is always 20/20. The moral here is "too many apartments is not a good thing, right?" No matter how fancy they are when they are new, too many apartments is detrimental to a community. Which is why I was astonished to learn the other day that there are apartments in the Township!!! This is apalling to me!!! Why in the world, in a community where 52% of the population are renters, would the city allow MORE apartments. So on the one hand they are trying to get rid of apartments while simultaneously adding more! This absolutely defies logic and, frankly, makes me question the sanity, intelligence and integrity of the city of Ridgeland elected officials.

Kingfish said...

One school official told me that one problem with the renters is that too many their kids don't stay in the school system long enough to improve or benefit. They move into the system from JPS and too often start behind. Then they move around and the kid doesn't get the benefit of learning in a top school system for a long period of time. Some of the Ridgeland schools rated C last year.

Anonymous said...

6:03 - where'd you get your Constitution? Mine mentions property rights but no neighbor rights.

Anonymous said...

9:53-So, you're telling me that nobody that lives in these apartments has a job? And that the apartments are slums. And that's your justification for stealing a mans property? If they are slums then force the owner to clean them up. It's called code enforcement and is perfectly acceptable. But don't take his property away. And if you don't like the way HUD works then take it up with the Federal government; but don't steal a mans hard earned investment, taking away HIS income stream. . And why in the world would you punish the property owner because his tenant sleeps until noon? As long as the rent is being collected, is it his responsibility to monitor the sleeping habits of his tenant?

What is happening to America? Property rights are HUGE!! Zoning is HUGE!! They work together to make a better community!!! the problem is that Ridgeland officials do NOT believe that they should have to follow the rules. They want to make up new rules that suit their short-sighted purposes. So, they wind up ignoring property rights on one side of the interstate and zoning ordinances on the other and are now being sued for doing both!!! Breaking the rules is NEVER the answer. The rules are there for the good of every one. Is it perfect, no, but it brings order and continuity where, otherwise, there would only be chaos.

Anonymous said...

8:03 and 9:53. First, if the apartments are slums AND the owners refuse to bring them up to code, THEN you have justification for taking the property away. That is not the case here.

Second, if you don't like the way HUD works, then take it up with the Feds but as long as the property owner is within his legal rights, you have no justification to steal his hard earned investment, depriving him of income.

Third, your implication/assumption/complaint that every one in those complexes sleeps till noon is ridiculous but even if you are 100% correct, since when does a land lord have the right or the responsibility to police a tenants sleeping habits, much less dictate what those sleeping habits should be. As long as rent is being paid and the tenant is following the rules, the landlord has no reason to be concerned with the tenants sleeping habits.

I get your frustration, but taking away our property rights is simply not the solution. You're suggesting we head down a very slippery slope. One that I prefer not to traverse. There must be a better way!

Anonymous said...

Property rights are imperative!! Zoning regulations are essential! They work in tandem to insure that a community remains vibrant. They are not mutually exclusive. The problem here is that Ridgeland cannot obey the laws and regulations set before them on these two topics. Rather, they think that they are above the law and attempt to re -write the rules so that on one side of the interstate, they can ignore property rights while on the otherside of the interstate, they can circumvent zoning regulations and now, surprise, surprise, they are being sued for both. Unbelievable!

Spots Another Dummy said...

1:57 - You might want to head down to your county court house and visit a zoning office. The constitution doesn't mention zoning either, but, it's a reality in your community today. And the rights of others to object to zoning creep and zoning changes and saturation is a matter of law today. Please educate yourself or stay under the porch.

Anonymous said...

5:30- clearly you are extremely upset about the apartments but throwing out our property rights is NOT the solution. And I can promise you, constitutional property rights will always trump a local zoning ordinance that the city of Ridgeland re--writes whenever it suits them.

You can argue and name-call til the cows come home but I doubt that it will change anything. Your time would be much better spent looking for a legal solution rather than trying to convince bloggers that property rights don't matter. Not going to happen!.

I had no idea the county court house had a zoning office. Very interesting!

Can't We Just Get Along? said...

Yes; 9:33, county court houses do have zoning offices. Visit one. These offices regulate zoning, planning and code enforcement in all unincorporated areas of a county. Whether city, county or governmental land, these are all wheels on the same tandem-axle trailer - attempting to maintain some balance between community planning, residential input and property owner rights. Your attempt to exclude all players except your favorite is glaringly obnoxious.

Please stop limiting the discussion to either side of interstate 55 going through one little town.

And instead of posting ad nauseum at 3:16, 4:34 and 4:48, might I suggest you just roll all your comments into one post and not repeat yourself over and over?

Anonymous said...

Those apartments are filthy, nasty, dangerous and filled with drug junkies and pushers. They have not been maintained at all. There are open electric wires, leaking roofs, mold and broken electrical and plumbing. They are unfit for human habitation. The complexes are sold and then sold again and again. The owners receive bundles of federal cash, but put nothing back to maintain them.

they should be shut down and razed.

Anonymous said...

Drive down Wheatley behind Northpark Mall. Looks like South Jackson 15 years ago--iron bars, some abandoned homes, the streets are buckled--drive up hwy 51 south of the trace--payday loans, vape shops...potholes

i'm glad i don't live there--they can't even keep the potholes fixed. (highland colony is starting to have this problem...)

Anonymous said...

5:06 - I must be missing something here. I thought this discussion WAS about "one little town". Was that not what the article was about? Ridgeland, MS? Do not misunderstand, nobody would like to see those apartments gone more than I would, but you will never convince me that taking some ones property without proper compensation will EVER be right and it is certainly NOT legal. So please stop whining! I would love to see your reaction if YOU were the one who's property was being illegally taken away. There is a wrong way and a right way to do everything, but right and wrong don't matter to you. You just want what you want and the rest of the world be damned.

Anonymous said...

The courts will rule against Ridgeland and damages will be paid. There is such a thing as a legal nonconforming land use. Arbitrarily changing the zoning requirements to not include the latter will prove difficult to defend.

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