Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ridgeland's Hotel Wars

The Ridgeland Board of Aldermen extended a moratorium on hotel construction for another thirty days Tuesday night.  The moratorium was brought up for a discussion and vote despite not being on the agenda.  The Madison County Journal reported today:

Proposed hotels

A moratorium on new hotel construction set to expire in October was extended 30 days by aldermen on Tuesday.

The moratorium was not initially on the agenda for Tuesday night, but was added at the request of Ward 5 Aldermen Bill Lee.

Before discussion on the issue began, Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier recused himself from the discussion due to his work with Kerioth Corporation and left the meeting room. Kerioth is currently building a hotel at the Township at Colony Park.

The 180-day moratorium was put into place to study the need and current state of hotels in the city. The time was intended to be used to listen to experts and conduct studies. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard asked what the status of the proposed report from the Tourism board.

Mayor Gene McGee said that they expected to have such a report by the end of the month and would be available for review before the next city board meeting in early October.

“If we approve this I do want to assure people on the record that this time will be used well. We have this report to consider and I would like to hear from some experts or consultants,” Heard said.

Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey seconded Heard’s remarks saying that he thought “if there was more information out there they should consider it.”

Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder said that he would vote against the extension.

“I am going to have to say I am going to vote no on this issue again,” Holder said. “The way I see it someone wants to start a business here and has already done everything we have asked them to do.”

A motion to extend the moratorium from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31 passed 4-2 with Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin and Alderman Holder voting “No.”

McGee initially supported the moratorium but has expressed disagreement with the way a petition for relief was handled.

In mid-July, Aldermen Holder and Hamlin proposed to lift the ban for a proposed multi-hotel project that included a Tru by Hilton and two Holiday Inn brands. The measure failed 2-4.

Developers say they have already spent $3 million on the hotel project. The city has denied a height variance for the project to allow for a third floor. The total project would be approximately $30 million, according to developers.
 JJ reported earlier this month: 

Ridgeland Hospitality applied for a Conditional Use permit that would allow it to build three five-story hotels although the three hotels will be housed in two structures at the corner of I-55N Frontage Road and West Ridgeland Avenue. The combined occupancy would be 287 rooms.  Ridgeland limits the height to 48 feet unless a variance is approved. The site is zoned MU-1. 

 The Zoning Board unanimously approved the application after a public hearing was held on January 5, 2017 and forwarded it to the Board of Aldermen.  That is when the fun began for Ridgeland Hospitality. 

Alderman Keith Heard moved to table RH's application and hold a public hearing on February 21.  All aldermen voted to approve Heard's motion, including Chuck Gautier.  The hearing was held and the aldermen voted 6-1 to deny the application.  Mr. Gautier again voted on the matter....

 What is interesting is Mr. Gautier voted on these matters and made public comments because he directly works for a competitor, Kerioth Corporation.  Kerioth is owns two Mariott hotels at the Township at Colony Park and is building a third one, the Autograph, at the Township as well.  The Aldermen granted height variances to these hotels although Mr. Gautier recused himself from those votes.  The Aldermen also approved a TIF bond package for one Township project and a conference center as well. The Aldermen are also supporting Kerioth's application for the MDA Sales Tax Rebate Program.  Kerioth says it's total investment in The Township will be $358 million. Clint Herring is the President of Kerioth and the developer of the Township at Colony Park.

 Meanwhile, the Board of Aldermen made Ridgeland Hospitality jump through more hoops.   RH resubmitted plans in late March that met the height restrictions ( The above-posted drawings are the revised plans).  However, the Conscript Fathers of Ridgeland moved the goal posts and  approved a 180-day moratorium on all new hotel construction at the April 4 meeting.  Meanwhile, the board voted to support Kerioth's application for the sales tax rebate at the April 18 meeting.

Ridgeland Hospitality didn't quit trying to get its project approved.  It submitted a site review plan. The Architecture Review Board approved the site review plan with some minor modifications such as extra landscaping on a 5-0 vote at the June 27 meeting. However, RH once again ran aground as the Board of Aldermen denied RH's request to end the moratorium although Mr. Gautier did recuse himself at the July 18 Board meeting.  Oddly enough, the same Board approved the site plan for RH on a 4-2 vote as well. Mr. Gautier requested that he be allowed to participate in that vote but the developers objected and he did not do so...
 Investors want to build reputable hotels in Ridgeland with their own money and get the runaround while politically-connected developer gets all kinds of help from the taxpayers while his projects sail right on through the Ridgeland Board of Aldermen.

Kingfish note: Perhaps Ridgeland Hospitality should have donated an Escalade to the city. 


Anonymous said...

Explain the Escalade comment please. :)

Anonymous said...

The donated escalade is obvious and should need no explaining.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to see some well-funded opponents running against some of these crooked aldermen next election. Sadly, they are failing to represent the city's best interest. Do tell about the Escalade??

What about the Gautier/Amy Felder cover up?

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute...Roughly 170 days into a 180 day moratorium, and nothing has been done. There hasn't been one study completed or one thing to justify any moratorium. Ken Heard assures the people "If we approve this, I want to assure people on the record that this time will be used well". So, Ken will the next 30 days be used as well as the last 170 days when absolutely nothing got done?

This isn't about a moratorium. This is crooked politics at its finest, and even the biggest idiots who like Clint Herring and Chuck Gautier can see that now.

Anonymous said...

Is this real life or a terrible SNL skit ha.

Anonymous said...

Wander why they can't get approved?

Anonymous said...

I guess they needed more time to think after 180 days? I wander what they will bring up next.

Anonymous said...

"Wander why they can't get approved?"
September 21, 2017 at 5:49 PM

If you, and the people around you, pronounce 'wonder' to sound like 'wander', then you are not a Mississipian. Were you ever exposed to Phonetics? The same mistake was made in a previous thread dealing with the Ridgeland Hotels issue, so I'm guessing you made both posts, and the mistake is not the result of a typo.

Are you an outsider who's moved to Mississippi? Or are you someone posting from outside the state? What is your interest in the project?

In your homeland, are persons with your surname involved in petitioning the government there, to continue classifying them as a traditionally poor, oppressed, and disenfranchised minority (despite their having risen, in recent decades, to affluence and prominence)?

Anonymous said...

too funny lmao

Anonymous said...

There are too many hotels in that part of Ridgeland now. Good for the Board and the Mayor. They are learning something from Mayor Mary.

Anonymous said...

4:24, what kind of cover up are you alluding to?

Anonymous said...

Ridgeland does not need one more damn hotel. Apartments and hotels bring all sorts of problems. And Madison- I can not believe the Mayor allowed ANOTHER hotel at the prominent corner of 463 and Highland Colony. I like the Mayor but this seems to go against her usual better judgement.

Anonymous said...

6:51 pm

Wander and wonder are often confused by country people.

I'm not 100% certain this guy is from another state simply because he habitually misspells
The word "wonder" as "wander."

Plenty of Rankin county (and others) folks speak with that dialect.

I think you'd be safer to guess that the poster is over 60 years of age rather than to classify him as from outside MS.

Anonymous said...

Clint Herring has nothing to loose because everything done at the Township was with Jimmy Hood's backing financially---Clint doesn't have two cents to rub together. Same for Buster Bailey, his money comes from Jimmy Barksdale.

All this is a lot more complicated than it appears---FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Anonymous said...

11:00 Most folks over 60 are light years beyond those under 60 when it comes to the usage of the English language... written or spoken. (includes 'country' people)

Anonymous said...

Hotels are easy money for the tax collector. And if you build stuff people want to come see and do, you need hotels.

Anonymous said...

"Wander and wonder are often confused by country people.
I'm not 100% certain this guy is from another state simply because he habitually misspells the word "wonder" as "wander."
Plenty of Rankin county (and others) folks speak with that dialect.
I think you'd be safer to guess that the poster is over 60 years of age rather than to classify him as from outside MS."
September 22, 2017 at 11:00 AM

Funny, but I've been working-out at the Courthouse (gym), in Rankin County, since 1985. I've yet to hear that dialect. Yes, some "country people use the incorrect vowel sound, making their 'wonder' sound like 'wander'. But THOSE "country people" live up in Yankeeland - specifically areas dominated by immigrants who arrived after the Civil War.

In Northern areas still populated largely by Old Stock Americans, the pronunciation - particularly that of the vowel sounds - is essentially the same as in Mississippi (just minus the Southern flourishes).

Your thinking that Rankin County "country people" pronounce 'wonder' as 'wander', only makes me doubly-sure that you are not from around here.

Possibly, you don't know that "country people", in Mississippi - even poor "country people", have been listening to radios and televisions, since early childhood. Virtually all of them attended elementary school, where Phonetics were considered a basic component of learning to read and write. If you point to a letter, Mississippi's elderly "country people" can tell you what sounds come from that letter. And if you point to an 'o', they are not going to say "ah".

That does NOT seem to be the case, with underprivileged people in the Northeast (even among "city people"). And, increasingly, recent immigrants are learning the bastardized English (including the 'Vowel Shift') used by low-class Yankees.

Anonymous said...

Well done, mayor and aldermen. This area needs no more cheap motel to ruin our home value.

Anonymous said...

The Mississippi state drop out don't know the difference between wonder and wander.

G Bush said...

The vote was illegal and will not stand.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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