By JACK WEATHERLY
Despite community opposition, Costco Wholesale is “absolutely” committed to putting its store in what would be the third phase of the Renaissance at Colony Park in Ridgeland.
That’s the word from Jerry Mills, city attorney.
Mills also said this week that the Board of Aldermen have set a public hearing for April 5 to present an amendment to the general commercial zoning ordinance that contains “essentially the same language” included in a June 2, 2015 amendment that would allow the Costco to build on Highland Colony Parkway.
The amendment was seen by many as a surreptitious move to accommodate Costco in the proposed expansion of the Renaissance at Colony Park.
Mills said that the hearing on the amendment is intended to satisfy concerns about procedural matters, and to avoid a costly court battle.
The aldermen voted Feb. 16 to hold the hearing as a result of a lawsuit brought by homeowners to stop the expansion planned by developers. The homeowners contend that the expansion with Costco would create traffic problems and devalue residential property.
The redo on the ordinance amendment is intended to address claims made in a lawsuit filed in November by homeowners seeking to invalidate the original amendment. No court date has been set for the case. Madison County Circuit Judge Steve Ratcliff will preside.
Calls for purposes of this article to Norman E. “Benje” Bailey, attorney for the homeowners, were not returned.
That amendment was specifically made for Costco, the suit contends.
Yet Mills said that amendment and its reiteration would accommodate 17 parcels of land, including two or three under serious consideration.
Meantime, legislation that would have blocked extension of the July 1 deadline for completion of projects that qualified for a retail tourism tax credit, enabling the Renaissance expansion to be done has died in the Legislature. There is hope that that goal can be achieved in another bill.
Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough granted a four-year extension to a Louisiana developer to qualify for $48.7 million in Mississippi sales tax rebates by completing a retail center on Lakeland Drive in Flowood.
Jackson developer Andrew Mattiace qualified for a rebate as a “cultural retail attraction” under that program, which the Legislature allowed to expire on June 30, 2014, that would provide Mattiace with about $30 million in diverted sales taxes produced under Phase III of Renaissance.
Work has not begun on that project, but Mattiace, who has declined to be interviewed about the matter, would presumably seek an extension as did the Louisiana developer.