City pleased with attendance at LDO meetings

Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel says he was pleased with the response to the city’s Land Development Ordinance public hearings, particularly with the Woolmarket meeting on Tuesday night, when more than a hundred people turned out.

Click here to learn about the LDO Draft

The Land Development Ordinance is a set of standards and provisions to govern construction and land-use in the city. The document is designed to help realize the goals set forth in the city’s comprehensive plan. Both documents — the LDO and comprehensive plan — were drafted after myriad meetings with property owners, residents, developers and professional planners.

“We had some great input on the LDO, particularly in Woolmarket, where people want to make sure that density levels are respected,” Creel said. “The other issue we heard about at the Woolmarket meeting had to do with mobile homes, and limiting them in the Residential Estate zoning classification. Frankly, what we’re going to do is not allow them in the RE classification, but property owners would have an appeal process, which would require public hearings and notification of adjacent property owners. That’s the fair and legal thing to do.”

Another issue that came up during the Woolmarket meeting was concern over tax-credit developments.

“A speaker said that there were 62 of those approved in Harrison County and that they thought we didn’t need any more of those,” Creel said. “I can’t speak for the 60 throughout Harrison County, but I do know that the City of Biloxi has dealt with only two tax-credit properties — Timber Creek Estates and the Gates of Biloxi — and we’re proud of how they’re being built and managed.”

Creel noted LDO public hearings also were held at community centers in east and west Biloxi, along with a meeting in east Biloxi that specifically targeted Vietnamese and Latino residents.

The Planning staff will now incorporate valid recommendations into the draft and re-present the document to the Planning Commission for review. Once the Planning Commission approves, the proposed LDO will be sent to the City Council for it approval.

“Our goal is to have the LDO to the council in about a month,” Creel said. “Right now, we want to thank everyone who turned out for the meeting or merely took the time to review the LDO online.”

Read more online: For more on the LDO and the process, click here.

News and notes

Progress report No. 1: Restoration and repairs to the Swetman House and the fire museum are expected to get underway this month, two of the nine historic properties where the city has repair work underway or in the offing. Historical Administrator Bill Raymond has updated all nine projects. To see the report — including costs, and start and completion dates — click here.

Progress report, No. 2: City Engineer Damon Torricelli is expected to conduct a final inspection of the Colsieum pier restoration on Friday, and the pier could open to the public within a week. The federal government had delayed construction pending a study of the potential impact on sea turtles that could be south of the pier. Meantime, the city on April 7 will open bids to begin rebuilding the Lighthouse Pier, and plans for a huge project — the $9 million restoration of the Point Cadet fishing bridge (old U.S. 90 bridge) — are now being reviewed by FEMA.

Progress report, No. 3: Newsman Gary Michiels continues his audio blog on Biloxi progress. To listen, click here.

Eggstra hunting: The city’s annual Easter Egg hunt on the Town Green, planned for this Saturday afternoon, is turning into a day of Easter Egg hunts, thanks to a Saturday morning hunt on the Town Green being co-sponsored by the Biloxi Excel by 5 Coalition, Biloxi Public Schools and the city. To see a flier for these two hunts and other Parks & Recreation events, click here.