Millennial Park, the shipping container retail and restaurant park in the 3800 block of Florida Boulevard, is drawing criticism from some nearby residents who are trying to block developers’ efforts to rezone the property.
In an attempt to rally opposition to a rezoning request that the Metro Council will soon hear, residents surrounding Millennial Park have created a website that lists dozens of allegations against the park and its developers, father-and-son team Curtis and Cameron Jackson, who categorically deny each accusation.
Cameron Jackson says he believes the anti-rezoning campaign is coming from “a handful of residents” whom he alleges have been trying to extort him.
“They’ve said, basically, ‘You give me this amount of money and we can make this all go away,’” he says. “It’s not the entire neighborhood, though, just a handful of people that are causing the problem. Others love it, and we appreciate them.”
Todd Bidwell, whose longtime friends live in the neighborhood, disputes this accusation. Instead, he describes having a friendly conversation with Curtis Jackson where, after Bidwell made it clear he was opposed to the rezoning of Millennial Park, Curtis asked Bidwell if anyone had hired him to lead the opposition effort. In response, Bidwell said “No, but do you want to hire me as a consultant? I charge $300 an hour plus expenses.”
Meanwhile, some neighbors say the Jacksons have been “deceptive” with their rezoning request by “portraying that they want to rezone to open a single sports bar, when in fact they have plans for two bars”—a sports bar and a daiquiri bar. Cameron Jackson says there are “no set plans for what anything will be,” noting more will be determined once he secures the zoning for alcohol.
Chiefly, the neighbors say they worry about traffic and other quality-of-life problems that could arise once the venue expands to 14 businesses, citing a lack of parking spaces. Original plans for the development indicated the containers would eventually be double-stacked.
However, residents argue the 40 parking spaces currently on the property won’t be able to accommodate the employees of 14 businesses, not to mention customers. Large events have already drawn well more than 40 vehicles, they say, which has led cars to park in some residents’ yards. Residents complain of “hollow gestures” by Millennial Park to solve these parking issues, as well as repeated violations of noise ordinances.
“The rezoning and opening of two bars will only make a bad situation worse,” the website reads. “… Millennial is a great idea and concept, but there is not nearly enough property to handle what is planned. It’s a postage size piece of land trying to house a mall.”
These concerns, which were voiced by various residents at an Oct. 19 Planning Commission meeting, are primarily why the commission ultimately voted, 7 to 1, to deny the Jacksons’ rezoning requests, according to Planning Director Ryan Holcomb.
“We’ll continue improving the community and doing what we do,” Cameron Jackson says. “Anyone who knows Millennial Park knows what we’re doing is great.”
The rezoning request has gone to the Metro Council, which deferred it for 60 days and will consider it again at its Jan. 20 meeting.
Editor’s: This story has been updated since its original publication to correct a sentence that inaccurately stated Curtis and Cameron Jackson were brothers. They are father and son, respectively. Daily Report regrets the error. The story has also been updated to include comments from resident Todd Goodwell.