Council scheduled to decide Tivoli issue Tuesday

The Biloxi City Council is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to move forward with a proposal to re-zone nearly 30 acres of land at the former site of Tivoli Hotel to allow casino gaming.

The council’s meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at Biloxi City Hall.

The possible re-zoning of the beachfront land in east Biloxi – 27.86 acres in all, comprising 21 separate but contiguous parcels – has sparked discussion over the intent of the state’s post-Katrina approval of on-shore gaming, and whether the Tivoli site would be appropriate because of its location directly north of the sand beach.

The state Gaming Commission several weeks ago also reminded the city that regardless of its position on the re-zoning, the Gaming Commission would be the ultimate authority on whether the site is legal and suitable.

The re-zoning proposal includes a tract of land bordered by the “mean high water line” or “toe of the seawall” on the south, Kuhn Street to the east, Howard Avenue to the north and Holley Street on the west. The area is currently zoned multi-family residential and commercial. Besides gaming, a waterfront or “WF” designation would allow residential, commercial and amusement uses on the site.

To read the proposed ordinance, which includes background on Planning Commission hearings on the issue, click here.

Also on the agenda Tuesday: 17 code-enforcement cases, which involve properties that have been found to be in violation of city codes; and a public hearing to discuss the city’s hazard mitigation and floodplain management plan.

To see the complete agenda and available resolutions, click here.

Council OKs option to lease land to Seafood Museum

The City Council this week voted to give the Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum Inc. two years to raise $6 million for construction of a new museum, which could lead to a lease of two acres of land at the former site of Tullis-Toledano Manor.

The “option to lease” the city-owned beachfront property would be automatically extended for an additional year if the museum raised the funds during the two-year period. If the museum raises $10 million for construction, the resolution said, the city would enter into a ground lease based on “commercial reasonable terms.”

Museum leaders had previously unveiled proposals to the council that would include a 27,000-square foot museum on the Tullis-Toledano site, with a price tag of as much as $13 million.

Weekend preview: seafood, art, theater and more

The Biloxi Chamber’s 26th annual seafood festival highlights a weekend of diverse entertainment.

The fest, which takes place Saturday and Sunday on the Biloxi Town Green, will feature continuous live music, free seafood dishes and the Sun Herald Gulf Coast Gumbo Championship.

Meantime, Biloxi Little Theater raises the curtain tonight on its 61st seasoin with Clare Boothe Luce’s legendary comedy “The Woman” (for ticket info, click here), and the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art will host the first “Ohr-iginal Crafty Kids” Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
at Miramar Park in Biloxi.

For an overall look at this weekend’s events of note, courtesy of listings compiled by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau, click here.

News and notes

Harbor work: Dredging and re-construction of the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor is scheduled to begin Monday. For background on the 180-day, $6.5-million project, click here.

Webcasting: Bay Press editor Gene Coleman moderates a discussion of the week in Biloxi city government in this week’s “City Desk” webcast. To listen to the program, click here.

Diamond gems: A number of local artists will be making their public debut in Diamonds in the Rough, which has a free opening reception this evening from 6 to 9 at Negrotto’s Gallery, off Eisenhower Drive in west Biloxi. Included in the mix are city staffer Tonya Hebert and special guest Renny Sherman, the technical guru for the city’s web site.