Ridgeland wants appeal dismissed

AS SEEN IN THE…
NORTHSIDE SUN

Wed, 07/27/2016 – 4:06pm by Anthony Warren

More volleys have been fired in the legal battle surrounding the Ridgeland Costco.

Last week, Ridgeland filed a motion to dismiss an appeal of the city’s decision to amend its C-2 zoning ordinance.

The mayor and board of aldermen amended C-2 zoning in April, giving Costco the ability to install a gas station at its proposed site.

Eight residents filed an appeal in Madison County Circuit Court on April 14, nine days after the board’s decision.

Board attorney Jerry Mills is asking that the case be thrown out, because opponents did not file a brief by deadline.

According to Mississippi Supreme Court rules, briefs must be filed within 40 days of the initial notice of appeal. “No such brief has been filed, nor has any leave for additional time been sought,” Mills stated.

Mills is also asking the court to toss out an appeal of the city’s decision to approve the Costco’s site plan.

On June 7, the board approved the site plan for the first portion of the third phase of Renaissance at Colony Park.

The development would include a 150,000-square-foot Costco Wholesale warehouse.

Despite objections at the June 7 gathering, the mayor and board narrowly approved the decision on a 4-3 vote.

In this case, Mills is asking for a dismissal because opponents had not filed a bill of exceptions within 30 days of the notice of appeal.

A bill of exceptions is essentially the records of the meeting of the decision being appealed, including meeting minutes, agendas and the like.

“Appellants have not requested a certified copy of the minutes of the city’s public meeting at which the … site plan was approved … Further, appellants have not submitted a proposed bill of exceptions to the city for its consideration” as required by state law, Mills said.

The Costco would be located on the south side of a 45-acre swath of land along Highland Colony Parkway, near the Old Agency Road and Natchez Trace Parkway corridors. The project is being built by developers Andrew Mattiace and H.C. Bailey.

Currently, three suits are pending before Madison County circuit judges, including an appeal of the board’s 2015 and 2016 zoning amendments allowing for the Costco, and a 2016 approval of the Costco site plan. Steve Maloney, an attorney representing those opposed to the Costco, also has plans to appeal a recent decision by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), giving developers environmental clearance for the project.

On June 30, the MDEQ permitting board approved a water quality permit and storm water management certification for the project. MDEQ had to sign off on the plans because of the impact they’ll have on a nearby creek and wetlands.

A request for an evidentiary hearing in the MDEQ matter must be filed by July 30.