RIDGELAND — A recent rezoning could cause business developers and residents of a nearby trailer park to clash.

Aldermen unanimously approved the rezoning of the property at 610 Highway 51 from C-2A to I-1 for office warehousing with restrictions in a 5-0 vote last week. 

Ward 2 Alderman Chuck Gautier and Ward 4 Alderman Brian Ramsey were both absent.

Community Development Director Alan Hart said that the suggested restrictions approved in a 3-2 Zoning Board vote were that the property not be used for wrecker services, transportation business or storage facilities.

“The current use of the property does not allow for the use of office warehousing and several businesses want to expand,” Hart explained. “The zoning board recommends that we approve the change with a list of uses that will not be permitted.”

Marc McKay, attorney for the petitioner, told the Zoning Board that there had been a change in the character of the neighboring properties. He said that there is a shortage of I-1 properties in the city and the trailer park that exists on the property has suppressed the value.

The property that was rezoned is owned by John Allegrezza.

The Zoning Board minutes reflect that David Pursell of U.S. Lawns and Kenneth Bounds spoke in favor of the rezoning, noting they own adjacent businesses and have found trouble finding suitable land for expansion.

Joyce Emmons, a resident of the trailer park, spoke in opposition, noting that her trailer is old and cannot be moved. Bill Ratliff voiced opposition as well stating that “good people are living in the trailer park.” Joyce Elaine Kemp noted her opposition as well.

When asked how they expected to handle the displacement of residents McKay said that they planned to displace as few residents as possible and wanted to work with them to ensure a favorable outcome.

“We are sympathetic to the residents of the trailer park and will work with those folks to ensure that we maintain harmony where we can,” McKay told the board. 

He added, “These expansions are designed to displace the fewest number of residents as possible.” 

The board also approved an architectural review packet that would set a master plan and architectural standards for new buildings and building expansion on the property.

“It is a simple look. It is consistent with a trend we are seeing for office warehouse concepts. Locally, you can see a lot of similar buildings going up in the Gluckstadt area," Hart said.

Alderman-at-Large D.I. Smith said that he was afraid the building designs lacked detail and would leave certain parts of the buildings that see sores exposed.

Hart said that this was just an example and each new building would undergo Architectural Review Board approval and approval by the Board of Aldermen individually.

“I would hate to see us go through this just for it to be an eyesore,” Moth said.

Gautier, who was at last Monday’s evening work session, said that any improvement in the area was a positive.

“Based on the calls I have received it can't get much worse than what is there now,” he said.