RIDGELAND- A moratorium on new hotel construction set to expire in October was extended 30 days by aldermen on Tuesday.

The moratorium was not initially on the agenda for Tuesday night, but was added at the request of Ward 5 Aldermen Bill Lee.

Before discussion on the issue began, Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier recused himself from the discussion due to his work with Kerioth Corporation and left the meeting room. Kerioth is currently building a hotel at the Township at Colony Park.

The 180-day moratorium was put into place to study the need and current state of hotels in the city. The time was intended to be used to listen to experts and conduct studies. Ward 1 Alderman Ken Heard asked what the status of the proposed report from the Tourism board.

Mayor Gene McGee said that they expected to have such a report by the end of the month and would be available for review before the next city board meeting in early October.

“If we approve this I do want to assure people on the record that this time will be used well. We have this report to consider and I would like to hear from some experts or consultants,” Heard said.

Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey seconded Heard’s remarks saying that he thought “if there was more information out there they should consider it.”

Ward 3 Alderman Kevin Holder said that he would vote against the extension.

“I am going to have to say I am going to vote no on this issue again,” Holder said. “The way I see it someone wants to start a business here and has already done everything we have asked them to do.”

A motion to extend the moratorium from Oct. 2 to Oct. 31 passed 4-2 with Ward 6 Alderman Wesley Hamlin and Alderman Holder voting “No.”

McGee initially supported the moratorium but has expressed disagreement with the way a petition for relief was handled.

In mid-July, Aldermen Holder and Hamlin proposed to lift the ban for a proposed multi-hotel project that included a Tru by Hilton and two Holiday Inn brands. The measure failed 2-4.  

Developers say they have already spent $3 million on the hotel project. The city has denied a height variance for the project to allow for a third floor. The total project would be approximately $30 million, according to developers.