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Beard v. City of Ridgeland

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

April 19, 2018

GERALD EMMETT BEARD, CHARLES JULES MICHEL, HAROLD JOSEPH BYRD, NILS KEREM MUNGAN, GEORGE THATCHER SHEPARD, JR., MATTHEW DENSON DeSHAZO, WILLIAM M. ADEN, THOMAS I. RICE, III AND JOEL G. PAYNE, JR.
v.
CITY OF RIDGELAND, MISSISSIPPI AND MAYOR AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN OF THE CITY OF RIDGELAND

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/21/2017

          MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOHN HUEY EMFINGER

          TRIAL COURT ATTORNEYS: WILLIAM DEMENT DRINKWATER JERRY L. MILLS NORMAN ELVIN BAILEY, JR. JOHN PRESTON SCANLON SHELDON G. ALSTON JAMES A. PEDEN, JR.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: WILLIAM DEMENT DRINKWATER NORMAN ELVIN BAILEY, JR. SHELDON G. ALSTON

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JERRY L. MILLS JOHN PRESTON SCANLON

          KING, JUSTICE.

         ¶1. Shortly after the adoption of its current comprehensive zoning ordinance and map in 2014, the City of Ridgeland ("the City"), on June 2, 2015, adopted an amendment to the zoning ordinance, creating as a permitted use in general commercial ("C-2") districts a Large Master Planned Commercial Development ("LMPCD"). The amendment allowed uses previously prohibited in C-2 districts and created an opportunity for the potential location of a Costco Wholesale ("Costco") off Highland Colony Parkway. Appellants Gerald Emmett Beard, Charles Jules Michel, Harold Joseph Byrd, Nils Kerem Mungan, George Thatcher Shepard Jr., Matthew Denson DeShazo, William M. Aden, Thomas I. Rice III, and Joel G. Payne Jr., residents of the City who live in nearby neighborhoods, appealed the City's decision, arguing that the amendments constitute illegal rezoning and/or spot zoning.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In 2009, the City adopted a Comprehensive Plan for land development to serve as a policy guide for the economic development of Ridgeland. General commercial districts were listed as C-2, C-2A, C-3, and C-6 districts. These districts were to include businesses in which the principal activity is conducted indoors. However, it stated that certain land uses that involve some outdoor activities could be permitted in these areas.

         ¶3. On February 4, 2014, the City replaced its 2001 comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and Map and adopted its current comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and Map, in which the proposed Costco site was rezoned from a C-4 district to a C-2 district. C-2 districts did not permit gas stations, fast-food drive-through restaurants, drive-through pharmacies, banks, drive-through automatic teller machines (ATMs), food-product carry-out or delivery stores, or laundry and dry-cleaning pickup stations as either permitted or conditional Uses. A C-2 district was defined as follows:

410.01PURPOSE OF THIS DISTRICT:
A. The purpose of this district is to promote the development of well-planned shopping centers and independent (free-standing) commercial uses within carefully selected areas of the City of Ridgeland. The commercial activities permitted in this district include uses of a higher intensity than those first allowed in Low-Intensity Commercial districts (C-1).
B. It is the intent of this Ordinance that shopping centers and independent commercial uses be developed so that pedestrian and vehicular circulation is coordinated with the circulation patterns of adjacent properties in the vicinity that are also affected. In order to facilitate access between adjoining properties and to reduce the number of curb cuts onto arterial streets, the installation of a service drive shall be considered in connection with any independent commercial use (i.e., a commercial use that is not a part of a shopping center) proposed in this district.
410.02 LAND USES PERMITTED:
A. All commercial uses allowed in the Low-Intensity Commercial (C-1) District, subject to all C-1 district regulations.
B. Business-related retail and service establishments first permitted in Low-Intensity Commercial (C-1) District (no size restrictions).
C. Commercial uses in which services performed and merchandise offered for sale are conducted or displayed entirely within enclosed structures, including department stores (full line or discount) and furniture and appliance stores.
D. Shopping centers located on minimum sites of three (3) acres on an existing or proposed arterial street as shown on the adopted Thoroughfares Plan; shopping centers may contain any of the uses permitted outright in C-2 zones.
E. Strip Center Developments.
F. Hotels and motels and related restaurants.
G. Broadcast studios (with transmitting towers located elsewhere).
H. Commercial healthcare facilities, such as dialysis centers, physical therapy facilities, diagnostic and imaging facilities, 24-hour medical clinics, etc.
I. Veterinary clinics and pet shops, excluding outside runs (kennels) subject to Special Use Site Plan Standards in Section 600.14.F.
J. Mortuaries, funeral homes, mausoleums, chapels and related facilities subject to Special Use Site Plan Standards in Section 600.14.F.
K. Public streets, highways, private streets, and alleys.
L. Free standing, enclosed restaurants including fast food and fast casual restaurants with no drive-thru (excluding drive-in restaurants).
410.03 CONDITIONAL USES AND STRUCTURES AS PROVIDED UNDER SECTION 600.09
A. Townhouses, patio homes, and zero lot line homes subject to the regulations of the R-3 Single Family Residential District, R-4 Zero Lot Line Residential District, and R-4A Townhouse Residential District provided: that the front yard setback for these residential uses when fronting on a principal arterial or minor arterial street (according to the adopted Thoroughfares Plan); shall be at least 100 feet from the existing or proposed street right-of-way of such arterial streets; or that noise mitigation measures, acceptable to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen (such as berms), be installed by the developers of these residential uses.
B. Public or quasi-public facilities and utilities in compliance with Section 32 and other regulations of this Ordinance.
C. Other Conditional uses listed under the C-1 Low-Intensity Commercial District regulations.
D. Buildings in excess of 48 feet or four stories.

         ¶4. The commercial zoning districts progressively increased in commercial intensity. The next commercial zoning district listed was a General Commercial District ("C-2A") (Arterial Streets). The purpose of a C-2A district was to "allow property . . . on arterial streets to have additional permitted uses because of the volume of traffic located in these areas." All commercial uses allowed in C-2 districts also were permitted in C-2A districts, in addition to: food-product carry-out and delivery stores; banks, branch banks, drive-through ATMs, and other banking facilities; laundry and dry-cleaning pickup stations; restricted uses[1]; and public streets, highways, private streets, and alleys. Conditional uses for C-2(A) districts included: fast-food restaurants with drive-through, fast casual restaurants with drive-through, and drive-in restaurants; convenience stores; service stations; convenience grocery stores; pharmacies with a drive-through; other conditional uses listed under the C-2 general commercial district regulations; lawn and garden equipment sales and service (excluding outside sales and display); coin-operated laundromats; and public or quasi-public facilities or utilities might be considered as conditional uses subject to the provisions of Section 32 of the ordinance.

         ¶5. The next commercial zoning district was a convenience commercial district ("C-3"), whose stated purpose was:

to establish specific areas for the development of convenience commercial uses. These uses generate heavier vehicular traffic volumes than uses first allowed in the C-2 General Commercial districts. The uses first permitted in this district tend to generate more noise and litter than General Commercial uses. These districts are appropriate for location near the intersections of arterial streets, well away from ANY residential uses.

         Permitted uses in C-3 districts included any use permitted outright in C-2A districts, as well as convenience stores; convenience grocery stores; service stations; fast-food restaurants, drive-through restaurants, and drive-in restaurants; photomats; public streets, highways, private streets, and alleys; and pharmacies with drive-through. Conditional uses in C-3 districts included: public or quasi-public facilities or utilities; climate-controlled storage facilities; car washes/vacuum-cleaner stations and quick car-care clinics (lubrication, tune-up, etc.); and free-standing "game rooms, " for electronic video games, pool tables, etc.

         ¶6. Shortly after the February 2014 adoption of the new comprehensive zoning ordinance, in March 2014, Alan Hart, Director of Community Development for the City, prepared concept plans to send to a Costco representative regarding the possibility of locating a Costco in Ridgeland. In August 2014, the City submitted six potential sites along I-55 for Costco to consider. Costco's consultant determined that the Highland Colony Parkway site most aptly suited its requirements. The proposed Costco site was to be located on a forty-five-acre tract along the east side of ...


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