Thursday, September 06, 2007
Hearing Monday on Renaissance high rise
Thursday, September 06, 2007
RIDGELAND - When he gets a chance, Carlton Parke resident Deryll Stegall likes to mow his lawn and do some other work in his yard and the idea of a 17-story building looming beyond the nearby tree line is not particularly appealing to him.
Stegall is one of several residents who has made their voices heard in opposition to the proposed office building at 200 Renaissance that will include the Butler Snow law firm and the Horne CPA Group as tenants.
The city Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing on the building on Monday, Sept. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Court Services Building next to the Police Department. They will then issue a recommendation to approve or deny the special exception for the building to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Despite the impressive prospective tenants and the building's attractive design, Stegall said the new Cellular South building at the development, located at Highland Colony Parkway and Old Agency Road, is tall enough.
"The current eight-story building is very attractive and is a good compromise from a height standpoint - it isn't really imposing because you can barely see it from most neighborhoods," said Stegall. "But to more than double that height to 17 stories is perceived as too much by many people."
Some of these early opponents to the building have organized a citizens group called Zoning Ordinances Need Enforcement (ZONE), and are actively lobbying for the glass-and-steel structure's plans to be scrapped over concerns about traffic, privacy and property values.
But recently, another group known as "Go Ridgeland," has emerged in support of the building saying it would be a mistake for the city to lose its many associated benefits.
Butler Snow, meanwhile, issued a statement on Friday that if the building is not constructed to the current specifications, they will have to reconsider their decision to move to the development at Old Agency Road and Interstate 55.
Initially, the debate was dominated by residents west of I-55 who have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed building, which is being developed by the H.C. Bailey Company.
They argue that it is inappropriate for the residential area and would violate the city's long-term growth plan by loosening zoning restrictions, particularly on the height of buildings.
But Go Ridgeland has recently countered with a campaign in support of the project.
The group, which does not have a member listing, has sent out e-mails pointing to comments from both private citizens and H.C. Bailey that support the building.
These comments have been made at a blog, renaissancebuilding.blogspot.com, where proponents and opponents of the building can express their views.
Residents near Renaissance are also using homeowner association e-mail groups as tools to disseminate the latest information and discuss the project.
One writer on the Renaissance blog, identifying himself as Mark from the Dinsmor subdivision, said that it was time for others in support of the building to speak out.
"Often times the vocal "minority" is the only voice heard and reacted to," he wrote.
In a response to Go Ridgeland's e-mails, Stegall, immediate past president of the Carlton Parke Homeowners Association, said that city officials should be deliberate and not make a decision they might later regret.
He also argued that those who support the building but live in areas not
"If someone lives on the opposite side of town, they could only benefit from tax revenue from maximum commercial development, and they would not suffer from any negative consequences," he said. "The wishes of the residents in the area most affected should carry more weight."
A statement from the Butler Snow law firm released on Friday, however, expressed support for the building as planned.
"If, however, the building ultimately is not built as designed, then we will, in our own best interest, be forced to re-examine all our options for office space to house our 250 attorneys and employees," Don Clark, chairman of Butler Snow, said in part of the statement.
Full Statement from Don Clark, chairman of Butler Snow:
We are aware of the concerns being expressed by some about the 200 Renaissance Building in Ridgeland and we have received numerous calls from media and nearby residents inquiring about Butler Snow's position on this matter.
As a major tenant, and pursuant to our contract with the developers, we provided input into the design of the building and, again, pursuant to our contract, approved the final design. We did so in full confidence that all traffic, environmental and aesthetic issues have been fully addressed. We believe this office development will be a huge economic stimulus for Ridgeland - or any other city for that matter - resulting in significantly increased ad valorem and sales taxes for the city and increased property values for the surrounding residential and commercial areas. We also believe the combination of Class A offices within the Renaissance retail development assures the long-term stability of the retail portion and helps attract quality retail tenants.
We have grave concerns about some of the opinions being expressed in opposition to the 200 Renaissance Building. It is Butler Snow's earnest desire that any conflicts be resolved. If, however, the building ultimately is not built as designed, then we will, in our own best interest, be forced to re-examine all our options for office space to house our 250 attorneys and employees.