RIDGELAND — The city has settled another lawsuit with an apartment complex over a 2014 amendment to the zoning ordinance.

Kelly Simpkins, the attorney representing the city in the case against several local apartment complexes, presented the Mayor and Board of Aldermen with a settlement with Oakbrook Apartments on Old Canton Road during an Aug. 6 executive session.

Mayor Gene F. McGee announced after the executive session that the only motions made in executive session were to approve the deal and to leave executive session.

McGee said Tuesday that he could say little about the topic, as litigation with other apartments is ongoing, but that the deal approved last week with Oakbrook allowed the complex to rebuild some units that had been burned down in exchange for them dropping their lawsuit against the city.

The rebuilt units will put the complex above the density level prescribed in the city’s zoning ordinance.

“This is a one-time deal,” McGee said. "I'm just glad this is settled."

The executive session included the mayor, board, counsel and Community Development Director Alan Hart.

The city has wrestled with many local apartment buildings in costly lawsuits over a 2014 zoning amendment that made many buildings non-compliant.

The situation drew the attention of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In October 2016, the city approved an amendment to the zoning ordinance that would make the use and density of apartment complexes the same as the 2001 ordinance. 

In addition, the board eliminated a 10-percent maintenance cap that allows for owners of rental properties to spend more to upkeep homes and buildings.

The amendments satisfied a recent agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Previously, the latest apartment settled with was with RR Apartments, LLC and Jordan Ridge, LLC in July of 2018.

In the settlement, the city agreed to grandfather-in Ridgeland Ranch apartments as a nonconforming use under the current zoning ordinance that was amended in 2016 as a “Class A Nonconformity” and to not seek amortization. Ridgeland Ranch was allowed to continue to operate under this use in the C-2 zone where it is located.

SRC, in turn, agreed to spend a minimum of $500,000 in capital improvements within the next 24 months. The agreement included certain past improvements made.

In January 2017, the city settled with Ridgeland Apartments, LLC., the management company for the Gables Apartment complex on William Boulevard.

City Attorney Jerry Mills said at the time that the complex settled after trying to vacate a chancery court ruling that dismissed the suit.

It is still unclear how the city will handle the remaining litigation with other apartment complexes stemming from the density ordinance.