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Homeowners sue Ridgeland over ordinance allowing Costco

A lawsuit by nine Ridgeland homeowners contends that the developer of the proposed phase three of the Renaissance at Colony Park has no legal standing at the local or state level to move forward with the project.

The homeowners seek a declaratory judgment voiding steps taken by the Ridgeland Board of Aldermen that led to an agreement with the Mississippi Development Authority to grant Renaissance at Colony Park LLC a sales tax rebate valued at up to $29.6 million, or 30 percent of the $96.8 million project.

Madison County Circuit Judge John Emfinger has not set a date for the hearing.

A resolution passed by the aldermen on May 6, 2014 lent the city’s support for an application to the MDA’s Tourism Grant Program.

The resolution said that the sales tax that would otherwise go into the city’s coffers is for “property currently owned by Renaissance at Colony Park LLC.”

But the developer did not own the land, 45 acres south of the existing Renaissance at Colony Park lifestyle mall, according to Madison County land records.

Instead, the address of the property on the application is 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, which is the existing development.

Stiff community opposition arose after it was revealed that the city had had secret meetings with Jackson developer Andrew Mattiace and amended the C-2 general commercial zoning ordinance to allow Costco, a wholesale retailer, to build on the site, including gasoline pumps.

About 2,400 residents have signed a petition opposing the Costco store, the lawsuit notes.

The store would double the traffic and is “entirely incompatible” with nearby neighborhoods, five of which are named in the suit: Montrachet, Dinsmor, Canterbury, Windrush and Greenwood Plantation.

Mayor Gene McGee said that he had withheld the news of plans for the third phase of Renaissance because that would expose the developer to competitors.

The developer succeeded in getting Hinds County Chancery Judge William Singletary to seal the records of its deal, even though some had already been released in redacted form, including the state agency’s certification of the project for the tourism tax rebate program.

Singletary approved on Dec. 1 an agreement between The Clarion-Ledger and Mattiace to allow some of the records to be released, though none of a proprietary nature, according to the newspaper. The records had yet to be made public as of Monday afternoon.

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