A self-storage development proposed for the site of a dilapidated building in Jackson, Miss., faces zoning restrictions and opposition from former Jackson Mayor Kane Ditto and former Mississippi Gov. William Winter. Developer Craig Smith wants to buy the empty building next to Boots & More on High Street and turn it into storage. The property has been for sale since 2002, according to the source.
The High Street area is in an overlay district that has no means of providing exceptions for designated zoning uses, according to the source. The district currently excludes self-storage. "I don't see this property as being feasible for anything else [but storage]," Smith told the source, adding that he believes his storage business could add between $15,000 and $60,000 in tax revenue for Jackson.
Some city officials, including council member Melvin Priester Jr., believe the city should examine allowing zoning exceptions in overlay districts, but opposition from prominent leaders like Ditto and Winter would still likely provide a major hurdle for Smith’s project.
"Self-storage is basically a warehouse with a fence around it and no windows," Ditto told the source. "You would preclude any vital retail around it. High Street is not the place for it."
Winter said a self-storage facility would detract from the area, particularly after the new Civil Rights Museum and the Mississippi History Museum open on High Street in 2017. As many as 200,000 people are expected to visit the museums once they open, with many using High Street to access them, the former governor said. Jackson officials consider High Street to be the gateway to the city, according to the source.
Ward 7 council member Margaret Barrett-Simon told the source the building Smith has targeted for self-storage will be much more valuable once the museums open.
- The Clarion-Ledger: Former Governor Against High Street Storage Unit