Aldermen enact moratorium on storage units

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RIDGELAND — City officials instituted a six-month moratorium on the location, permitting and construction of indoor climate-controlled storage facilities within the city limits.

When asked what the purpose for the moratorium was, Mayor Gene F. McGee said the resolution explains the moratorium better than he could.

The resolution reads that “certain types of businesses” can have a “blighting effect on the character of commercial areas.” The city aims to reduce the potential impact of indoor, climate-controlled storage facilities and will use the moratorium to study the issue and come up with solutions to address potential issues.

The resolution specifically tasks the Community Development office with conducting a study and prepare a zoning ordinance amendment that addresses the impacts of such facilities.

The resolution says such a study could reasonably take up to six months. The resolution sets the Aug. 3 meeting as a date when the mayor and board will hold a hearing to either extend, modify or terminate the moratorium.

The moratorium does not apply to projects that have already received site plan approval and individual cases can ask for relief from the city board. The resolution says that arguments that will be accepted include “to avoid undue hardship” and “other good cause.”

The item passed unanimously, 7-0, with Ward 5 Alderman Bill Lee motioning and Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder seconding the motion to pass the moratorium. 

The board also unanimously voted to go into executive session before any other action was taken. McGee, the board, city attorneys and Community Development Director Alan Hart were in executive session for approximately 25 minutes. When they exited it was declared that they made no votes in executive session except to leave executive session.

The specially held meeting was set for Tuesday, Feb. 23, after the regularly scheduled meeting was canceled a week prior due to weather concerns.

Brookwood development was going to request an architectural review, site plans and a conditional use permit for a 98,200 square foot, four-floor indoor storage facility. Will have 133 parking spaces. Architectural Review Board records say the project was slated for a space at U.S. 51 and the I-55 Frontage Road.

The ARB board unanimously recommended the plans for approval.

Storage facilities have been the subject of controversy in recent years. 

In April 2018, aldermen passed an ordinance removing climate-controlled storage facilities from the allowed conditional uses for areas zoned C-3 and added the conditional use to C-4. That measure passed 4-3 with Aldermen Ken Heard, Brian Ramsey and Bill Lee voting against it.

The ordinance followed a 90-day moratorium on storage facility construction in the city that was approved in a 6-1 vote with Heard casting the lone "nay” vote.

The moratorium and ordinance were introduced after developers wanted to build a StorageMax on property on the Highland Colony Parkway that Aldermen considered to be a gateway to the city.

The subject property was located at the corner of Highland Colony Parkway and New Pointe Drive. Smith called the area “precious land” during discussion of the project.

The latest storage facility approved was in February 2020 on Brame Road alongside I-55 and Highland Colony Parkway.


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