Residents opposing Ridgeland's proposed Costco store are presenting their case in court. Monday a hearing was held on the matter in Canton.
The courtroom was nearly full with residents interested in the wholesale retailer's plans to locate near their homes. Most oppose the project, but a few are for it.
The residents opposing the Costco are challenging the city's zoning practices. They argued the city went against their comprehensive land-use plan to make changes to get Costco to come to Ridgeland.
Plaintiffs accuse the city of spot zoning. They say city officials changed the zoning for the proposed site, specifically for the store.
The parcel where Costco would locate is now being cleared off Highland Colony Parkway. Last spring it was re-zoned from C2 to C3.
C2A is the next step up for industrial zoning from C2 so it increased by two levels. The C3 zoning would allow for Costco to bring a service station along with the store.
Residents opposing the store say going up two levels in commercial levels would increase traffic by great amounts, impacting their quality of life.
"If they go in and change the zoning for this one entity, they need to show a change in the entire neighborhood, and they haven't done that," plaintiff's attorney Sheldon Austin. "They need to do it. We just want them to follow the law and change the zoning of a certain area."
Attorneys for the city say there are several C3 properties adjacent to the proposed Costco site so using the zoning there does not drastically change their comprehensive land use plan.
"The textual amendment is completely in accordance with the comprehensive plan, said James Peden, an attorney for the city of Ridgeland. "There's overwhelming evidence to that effect. This textual amendment could not by definition, could not be spot zoning."
Attorneys for the city also say the closest home is 1.8 miles away, and that the impacts the business could have won't specifically concentrate on one neighborhood, but on the public as a whole. They believe those impacts will be positive, including jobs and tax dollars.
The judge hearing the case said he will have a ruling as soon as possible. Attorneys said that they believe that will take several days.
City attorneys also say this is the last hurdle for Costco to be built in the proposed spot.
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