Call before beginning work; other news and notes

Biloxi residents should remember to get the proper permits before beginning any construction on their property, especially if they plan to fill in low-lying areas of their property.

Last week, the city halted work in Eagle Point where fill material was being added to three properties in waterfront areas known as a “velocity zone” or “V zone,” where fill is prohibited.

“People need to remember that permits are required for pre-building development, such as grading or filling a site,” Community Development Director Jerry Creel said. “FEMA expressly prohibits filling in these V zones, which are considered nature’s hurricane buffer. Without that buffer, damage from flooding will be exacerbated. That water has to go somewhere.”

The city could decline to issue a certificate of occupancy – meaning electrical service would not be connected – to any homes where improper work was performed.

“If property owners have any questions, we have staff ready to assist them and answer questions,” said Creel, whose department has issued thousands of building and repair permits since Hurricane Katrina. “Having permits and inspections protects the property owner. They’re assured that the work is being done to code and that they’re getting what they’re paying for.”

Any work to be performed in V zones or flood-prone areas of the city must be approved in advance and closely regulated.

The Community Development Department — which overseens land-use, zoning and building — is in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Municipal Building on MLK Boulevard in downtown Biloxi. The office is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It can be reached by calling (228) 435-6280 or via e-mail at

To see the city’s flood-prone areas, click here.

News and notes

Living Cities: Mayor A.J. Holloway will be one of the speakers Wednesday during two events sponsored by Living Cities. The group — which represents a consortium of foundations, financial institutions and governmental agencies — worked in conjunction with the Reviving the Renaissance initiative. To see Living Cities input on the RTR effort, click here.

Planning meeting: The Biloxi Planning Commission will hold its bi-weekly meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. at the MLK Municipal Building on MLK Boulevard in downtown Biloxi. Among the issues: condominium conversions involving Gulf Shores Villas, formerly known as Life Kare Place, off Atkinson Road; the Gulf Towers to Avalon Condominiums; and Grande View Apartments. To read the complete agenda,
click here.

March celebrations: The Hibernia Marching Society’s St. Patrick’s parade rolls through downtown Biloxi Saturday, beginning at 2 p.m., prefaced by the St. Patrick’s Day 5K run, which begins at 9 a.m. in front of City Hall. To read about a trio of city-sponsored events taking place, including a St. Patrick’s dance for kids, click here.