Officials reject Baymeadows Apartments plans
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 1:00 PM
RIDGELAND - Baymeadows Apartment complex has its answer on a proposed renovation and it's the same as before: denied.
The apartment complex is located off Old Canton Road on Pine Knoll Drive.
The company again had a proposed renovation plan denied by the Ridgeland Mayor and Board of Aldermen at a June 7 meeting - the second time the city has rejected the Baymeadows LLC, the parent company's, proposed plans.
In April 2011, representatives of Baymeadows, LLC admitted to more than 1,400 city code violations, and were granted a pre-trial diversion agreement which allowed them time to make the necessary repairs to the property.
The complex is located off Old Canton Road in the southeastern part of the city.
The initial renovation plans were rejected as insufficient in July 2011, a decision Baymeadows attorney J. Lawson Hester told reporters was indicative of the city's desire to tear down the complex and replace it with single-family homes.
A circuit court judge upheld the board's decision, but the LLC appealed that ruling to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which did not.
The Supreme Court sided with Baymeadows, but on the basis that the city's rejection did not include it's reasoning behind the decision. It ordered the city to "either issue the permit or provide an appropriate factual basis for its denial."
City officials decided to provide factual information.
At a June 17 hearing, Director of Community Development Alan Hart reported deficiencies in the proposed renovation plan in three areas: erosion control, interior renovation and public safety concerns.
Building Official Chris Ramsey confirmed the report, and submitted a written report to Mayor Gene McGee and the Board of Aldermen.
Although the city says notice of the hearing was delivered to Baymeadows through its attorney, no one representing the LLC was present at the meeting and no additional information, documents or testimony was present on its behalf.
After voting to deny the proposed renovations again, the city passed a resolution officially explaining its reasoning that cited many of the concerns Hart and Ramsey specified in their report.
Among other concerns, Hart and Ramsey's report included hazards associated with aluminum electrical wiring, sheetrock walls and ceilings that provide insufficient fire protection and lack of emergency sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers.
The concern over fire safety, the resolution concludes "would not provide reasonable protection to the residents of the occupied apartments in and adjacent to the construction area during the repair process."
It also cited deficiencies in the interior remodeling plan that pertain to remediating sewage intrusion damage and mold and mildew throughout the complex, which it concluded would not provide safe and sanitary housing. The proposed erosion control plan, the resolution added, does not propose measures that would comply with the city's ordinances related to storm-water runoff.
It's unclear what the future holds for the now-dilapidated complex, as Baymeadows LLC lost the property to foreclosure in 2013. It is now under the ownership of Bixby Bridge Capital, an Illinois-based company which has not submitted its own plans for renovations to the city.
Reached by phone Wednesday, a representative from Bixby said the manager associated with the property was not expected to return to the office until after the July 4 holiday weekend, and could not provide details for the company's plans for the future.
The company has retained local attorney Sheldon Alston of Jackson firm Brunini, Grantham, Grower and Hewes, but Alston did not return a phone call to his office Wednesday.
McGee said he'd like to see the apartments remodeled and reopened, but would not support issuing a construction permit for renovations that would not bring the complex into full compliance with city codes.
"They have yet to bring to the city a workable plan to make the repairs that need to be done," McGee said. "That's the reason there has been no positive movement."