Ridgeland officials have taken the first steps in establishing new roadways, including an I-55 frontage road by approving updates to the Generalized land Use and Transportation Plan.

The city board held a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss proposed changes to the city’s land use and transportation plans.

 


Community Development Director Alan Hart said that the proposed changes would accomplish two objectives on the south-west side of town which would include unifying land use and zoning and allowing for road projects to increase mobility in the area.

“It appears to me that when we inherited that land from the county someone made a mistake in the zoning of several properties,” Hart said. “We would like to make sure that land us his consistent.”

Changes to the plan will assist officials in making future zoning changes to the area. Hart said the goal was to unify zoning under the designation TIP, which includes allowances for C-2 uses, research and laboratory facilities, light manufacturing, colleges, branch banks with indoor and outdoor ATMs and drive-throughs, pharmacies, as well as other further allowances for public infrastructure.

A map showed a proposed frontage road along I-55 and various arterial additions to improve mobility on that side of town.

“I have talked to a lot of business owners in the area,  including the Madison County School District, and they are all on board with improved mobility in the area,” Hart said. “I think these proposed improvements will increase traffic flow in the area, particularly after the Lake Harbour Drive extension is finished.

He said they expected to see the positive effects such as a boost in stagnating rent rates and getting large trucks off the Highland Colony Parkway.

He said that the proposed changes to the comprehensive plan would open up their options when it came time to apply for grants.

Two guests were signed up to speak.

Gerald Beard, a Ridgeland resident and familiar face at such public hearings, said that he supported the changes but was skeptical about unforeseen consequences.

“I think overall these changes are a good idea and will positively improve traffic on that side of town,” Beard said.

He then wanted the board that based on his reading of the zoning ordinance he thought some proposed changes would make room for climate-controlled self-storage facilities in the area, a use that was recently removed from the area by a zoning change.

He saw that as a potential “unintended consequence” of some of the proposed changes.

Vice President of Facilities and Real Property Management at Tougaloo College Kelle Menogan said that the college looked forward to the changes, including increased mobility in the area.

“I have talked to the board and we offer our full support to the city,” Menogan said.

Hart said that he had been in discussion with Menogan and Tougaloo about the area surrounding the college that is in the city for at least the past six or eight years.

After they were heard, Mayor Gene McGee closed the public hearing.

Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard asked if everyone had had an opportunity to speak. There appeared to be about five residents in attendance, including Beard and Menogan.

With no further comment, the board unanimously approved a motion to amend the Future Land Use and Transportation Plan of the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Ridgeland. 

Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder made the motion to approve which was seconded by Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin.

Download the plan here, including the frontage roads.