Ridgeland hopes to replicate Township

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RIDGELAND — City leaders hope to duplicate the success of the Township development by allowing looser conditions for mixed-use zoning buildings citywide.

Community Development Director Alan Hart said that amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance made Tuesday evening would encourage growth by expanding the parameters in which mixed-use zoning can be applied. 

“I think by recalibrating some of our criteria for residential space in mixed-use buildings we can encourage more development,” Hart said. “This use has struggled to gain traction in Ridgeland but we have seen developments like the Township have success in this area.”

Hart added that he thought the mixed-use buildings had a lot of potential for growth in Ridgeland in the future. According to him, the city has had mixed-use zoning since 2014. 

“The Township is an excellent example of an 80-acre mixed-use development that also includes vertical mixed-use buildings,” Hart said. “Ridgeland has also seen some growth in mixed-use buildings in the Railroad District of Old Town Ridgeland. These areas are full of residential, office, retail, and restaurant. Each use works to support the other.”

The amendment was approved unanimously Tuesday evening in a 5-0 vote. Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder was absent and Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier recused himself because he works with Kerioth, the developer of the Township. 

The amendment will apply to section 340.03 to allow for residential dwelling units in compliance with other sections of the ordinance. Another amendment was made to language in section 340.05 that addresses the dimensional requirements for mixed-use developments.

Currently, mixed-use development requires that 100 percent of ground-level floors operate as a business. Hart said this would reduce that 50 percent. He said the use would be kept as a conditional use because they expect each project to be unique and have its own considerations.

“This is something that we can approve project by project,” Hart said.

Hart said that they had been “kicking this idea" around his office for at least three years. He credited former city planner Matt Dodd and his successor Jordan Lohman as critical to coming up with the presented amendments.

“A lot of thought has gone into this,” Ward 5 Alderman Bill Lee said.

Hart said that these developments strength is their flexibility and variety of uses.

“Mixed-use developments are typically built around sustainable development principles. Seeking a balance between the variety of uses remains a focus,” Hart said.

Two people were signed up to speak during the public hearing covering the proposed changes. The first was Shawn Cochran, the newly minted general manager of Northpark mall. He said Pacific Retail Partners recently cemented their footprint in Ridgeland with $20 million in renovations to their mall property and would consider further investments in current and future developments to take advantage of the changes made to the ordinance.

“We wanted to express our support and are excited about the opportunities this may provide for Pacific down the line,” Cochran said.

The second was McDaniel Wyatt, a representative of Humphreys and Partners Architects who has designed buildings and developments like the Township and those that would be further allowed by these amendments. He voiced his support for the change and showed city officials renderings from projects they have done in Smyrna, Georgia and Covington, Louisiana.  


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