The Meridian Star
No freeze on
A local group of private investors are in negotiations to place a Dollar General at the old car wash near Point Rexall on Twenty Fourth Avenue and Twenty Second Street.
This is a location that is not inside either the Poplar Springs Historic District of the Mid-Town Historic District. It has been zoned for commercial property, and has been taxed as commercial property, for more than thirty years. The car wash sign is still there from when it was in business, along with a commercial for sale sign.
The investors originally wanted to place the Dollar General in the Mid-Town Historic Business District, alongside the more than seventy five other businesses in that area.
The Mid-Town site would have required rezoning, and the Dollar General store would have been a brick building with a historic facade. This plan was approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission.
Due to misinformation, and a small petition headed up by Councilman Bobby Smith, the rezoning action was denied by a unanimous vote of the city council.
The investors then looked for other sites that would still serve the same business and residential area. They found a commercial location at Twenty Fourth Avenue and Twenty Second Street that fits their plan.
On this week’s City Council agenda, there was an order approved by a three to two vote to freeze all commercial building permits in a designated area of the city that includes the site for the Dollar General.
I vetoed that order.
The order—which was approved over the opposition of the city attorney—would restrict the use of more than one hundred blocks of private property.
It would create basically the same thing as inverse condemnation, which in government means, “We are going to restrict you from using your private property without paying anything for it.”
If enacted, the City of Meridian would issue no building permits for that area for an indefinite period of time.
It is wrong for government to step in and prevent the lawful use of land—whether it is one hundred blocks or one block.
The investors and property owner have followed the law. Every step of the way of this project, they have done what would be required of any citizen.
When the current owner’s family bought the property over thirty years ago, it already served as a car wash and service station.
It would be wrong for government to arbitrarily stop this project.
Remember, what we support for government to do others can one day be turned back on us.
While I am mayor, I will do everything I can to provide a government of fair treatment across the board, of no special favors, and equality under the law.
Mayor, City of Meridian
Red tape and
Streets crumble, potholes abound, crime continues to plague the City, and who knows what lies beneath the surface as defined by historic water, sewerage, and drainage infrastructure. Yet our elected officials are more concerned with the creation of red tape and meaningless rules that stymie development in our City.
I present some ideas as it pertains to the Poplar Springs Drive Historic District, in which I reside.
Eliminate all motor vehicle traffic from the PSD Historic District. Horse and buggy traffic will be permitted. Very soon, the streets will turn to dirt and gravel, which will suit the horses just fine.
A real historic district should have no electricity, phone service, cable TV, or internet. The 1800’s should abound. All utility poles and transformers would be removed and the look of the neighborhood would immediately improve.
Allow business such as bars, brothels, hotels, banks, farriors, and general stores, just like on Bonanza or Gunsmoke. A judge, sheriff, and jail are needed for crime control and to dispense justice. The law enforcement center would not be air-conditioned, just like the Meridian Police Department.
Hope this is a start on a real historic district. Meridian, let us continue to do what is necessary to discourage business and commerce. Washington waits with federal dollars and tax credits.
Fred O. Poitevent, Jr.
Lack of vision
Dear Mayor Berry and City Council Members,
I am strongly opposed to a veto concerning the commercial building moratorium that the city council passed that encompasses the Mid-Town and Poplar Springs Drive Historic Districts.
As a business owner that currently maintains corporate headquarters in Meridian for 45 finance companies in Mississippi and Louisiana and as a resident of the Poplar Springs Drive Historic District, I have a progressive view of the city thai is not only business welcoming but one in which a livable community is built that encourages existing companies to grow with the community and attracts outside companies that are looking to relocate. From my perspective, the city is failing miserably in this regard.
Insisting on locating a Dollar Store at the entry of the city's most historic neighborhood with complete disregard for the desires of the immediate neighbors and without properly accessing the larger impact on the entire community is but yet one more example of a serious lack of vision.
Our duty to protect historic places
I live on Poplar Springs Drive in the Poplar Springs Historic District, and Dollar General store is planning to build a new store on the old car wash lot that abuts the Poplar Springs Historic District and the Mid-Town Historic District. When we bought this house we made a commitment to live here until we die. But this issue is important to all residents of Meridian, all residents of Mississippi, and even Americans who just love the South and all it represents. The Poplar Springs Historic District and the Mid Town Historic District are national treasures recognized and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is our duty to protect these places in every way we can. This store in this location is a threat to our history and our culture. Dollar General is chipping away at our way of life and everything that living and breathing in the South means by building in our historic districts.
On a less emotional level the location of Dollar General in this particular place will:
• have negative impacts on the property values by creating an eyesore
• will increase light pollution in a residential area where people sleep
• will increase traffic in a residential area where children walk and ride bikes
• and create safety and crime issues
Dollar General is open 364 days every year. These conditions will exist continuously from the time this store opens. These are just the practical consequences of this building project.
Dollar General has a place in Meridian. They have several locations that appear to be thriving and everyone is happy when a business is thriving, but our historic districts are designated to be protected. There are many other locations with empty lots and high traffic. The City Council and Dollar General need to find a location that will make all of Meridian happy—a place that does not threaten the future of our historic properties and create more commercial creeping crud.
Before you decide to sign or not sign this petition take a minute and imagine yourself stepping out of the shower in the morning and seeing a Dollar General store every single day. Imagine yourself after a hard day's work walking out on your deck to enjoy a cold glass of iced-tea and instead of a quiet city street and children riding bikes, your view is a Dollar General store parking lot. Is this the future you want for your historic districts? If we don't protect our history, who will?