Council to consider dropping requirement for variances

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday will consider an ordinance that would allow the construction of homes that do not meet the city’s established setback requirements.

The ordinance, introduced by Ward 2 Councilmember Bill Stallworth, is designed to assist residents in the oldest and most storm-ravaged sections of the city, primarily in east Biloxi, where homes were built generations ago on lots that may not satisfy present-day front, side or rear setback requirements.

The measure would be limited to owner-occupied single family structures that would occupy a footprint no larger than the pre-Katrina structure.

“This is an emergency measure,” the proposed ordinance reads, “necessitated by the scope of the recovery effort and the devastating depopulating effect of Hurricane Katrina, (and) therefore this relief shall be limited in time to a one-year period.”

Community Development Director Jerry Creel this week cautioned councilmembers that such an ordinance, if passed, could re-create public safety issues that existed pre-Katrina and sidestep state statutes requiring that neighboring property owners be notified of any requests for variances.

You can read the council’s agenda for Tuesday, along with the full text of the proposed variance ordinance, by clicking here.

‘Images of Biloxi’ and online video archive updated

The city’s web site now contains an updated version of the popular pre-Katrina “Images of Biloxi” video montage in a section of the site where you’ll also find a host of storm-related video and photos.

Journal Communications, a Tennessee firm that originally produced and owns the “Images” montage, reports that thousands of visitors have viewed the video during its peak.

The overall video archive, which is in the “Katrina & Biloxi” section of the city web site, includes storm-surge video taken from City Hall during Katrina, a tour of the Biloxi Library days after the storm, and an interview with Mayor A.J. Holloway conducted as hurricane force winds began to subside on the afternoon of Aug. 29, 2005.

To visit the video and photo archive, click here.

News and notes

Webcasting: In this week’s City Desk webcast, you’ll hear a preview of this weekend’s Veterans Day parade in Biloxi, the implications of the mid-term elections on hurricane recovery efforts and an update on storm-debris removal efforts. To listen to the 21-minute program, which was recorded this morning, click here.

New online: Two new documents have been posted on the Community Development page of the city web site: a schedule of Planning Commission meetings through November 2007, and a copy of “Vision 2020: The City of Biloxi Comprehensive Plan,” which was originally adopted in 1996. To visit the Community Development page, click here.

Municipal holiday:
Non-emergency city departments and divisions – except for Municipal Court – will be closed Monday in observance of Veterans Day. Municipal Court, however, will be in session beginning at 9 a.m. Monday.