Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon is nervous about potential rezoning efforts connected to the Farish Street Entertainment District. Renovation of the Farish Street project has been ongoing for about a decade, stalled by strict guidelines for construction in a historically designated area, city/developer disagreements and a host of money issues. The massive endeavor changed hands last year from Memphis' Performa Chairman and CEO John Elkington to the Jackson developer of the King Edward and Standard Life projects, David Watkins, after Performa took a hit from the national economic downturn and was unable to secure reliable funding.
Council members desperately want development of the project to move forward, and are closely monitoring its progress. Barrett-Simon told the Jackson Free Press that she believes the city's planning and development division is seeking to re-zone some blocks within the district to C-2 and C-3 status.
"For some reason they're coming up with a couple of blocks that would be C-2, and another area beyond that that would be C-3, and my question is whether or not we would even want a C-3 block. That would allow you to have a used car lot," Barrett-Simon said.
Jackson developer Carl Allen, who is currently heading Watkins' Farish Street project, said C-3 may not really be necessary for the viability of the project.
"A designation like C-3 is a heavier intense commercial zoning designation: The higher the number the more intense the zoning. C-4, for example, is the downtown commercial district. C-3 is represented by a mall like the Metrocenter or something like that. You're looking at shopping centers and things like that, with C-3, and I don't think that's compatible with the Farish Street Neighborhood," Allen told the JFP. "C-2 is heavy enough. That already gives you shopping centers with grocery stores."
Ester Ainsworth, manager of the Land Use Division of the department of Planning and Development, could not immediately speak on the matter, but promised updates before the end of the day.
Barrett-Simon, in the meantime, said that the council will not be acting on the rezoning request in today's zoning meeting at 2:30 p.m., but it will be discussed.
What's the height/floor restrictions on C-2 compared to C-3?
I'm such a nerd!
According to the Hinds County Zoning Ordinance's section on C-3 designated zones (I couldn't find Jackson's in a quick search)...
SECTION 1503 - DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS
1503.01: Maximum Building Height: No structure shall exceed 35 feet in height as measured from the average of the finished ground elevations at the front line of the building. Any building or structure proposed to be constructed or erected above the maximum height shall require Site Plan Review in accordance with Section 2408.
This, btw, is the same height restriction in a C-2. I guess I'm not enough of a geek (and I say that with love) to read and compare line by line, but you can look it up. The URL is http://www.co.hinds.ms.us/pgs/pdf/hinds_zoning_ordinance.pdf
It is on page 75 of 123 (actual page is numbered 70).