By JACK WEATHERLY
Nine homeowners opposing the building of a Costco Wholesale store on Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland have won two interim rulings since they filed an appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court.
Most recently, Justice Leslie D. King ruled Oct. 23 against a motion by the city to strike information that allegedly had not been considered by Madison County Circuit Court Judge John Emfinger, who ruled in favor of the city.
On July 25, Justice Robert P. Chamberlain denied a motion by the city to expedite the hearing of the homeowners’ appeal.
“I hope we continue to win. I think that’s a good sign,” said Sheldon Alston, a Jackon attorney representing the homeowners.
Alston said that oral arguments have not been set, and won’t necessarily be scheduled by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court usually rules on a case within nine months after all briefs have been filed, Alston said. “That clock has started,” he said.
The homeowners are challenging the city’s amendment of its zoning ordinance as a favor to the developers of what would be the third phase of Renaissance at Colony Park, an open-air shopping mall opened in 2007.
The plaintiffs contend that Alan Hart, director of development for the city, stated in a public hearing in April 2016 that the ordinance, which was passed that day after the hearing, would allow for the inclusion of “gas stations, fast-food restaurants” in 17 properties already zoned C-2.
Costco Wholesale stores sell gasoline at pumps, as do Sam’s Clubs, another wholesaler.
Inclusion of those things is not in keeping with the immediate area, the homeowners argue, adding that 12 of the 17 sites are zoned otherwise, and that was not what Hart said at the hearing.
The defendants said that to argue otherwise would allow “an improper attempt to raise a new argument,” and Hart’s statement should be stricken from the record.
But Justice King on Oct. 23 said the argument could be entered in the appeal.
Opponents of the 45-acre retail development contend that it would unduly increase traffic in the area and devalue residential values of their upscale homes.
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