Council votes 4-3 to pass 29-story condo tower

The Biloxi City Council this afternoon voted 4-3 to pass an amended version of an ordinance that would allow the construction of a 29-story condo tower as part of a development west of Edgewater Mall.

Councilmembers Tom Wall, Mike Fitzpatrick, Charles T. Harrison Jr. and William F. “Bill” Stallworth supported the measure, while councilmembers George Lawrence, David Fayard and Edward E. “Ed” Gemill voted against the proposed ordinance.

The proposal, which Stallworth during the meeting amended from its original 33 stories to 29 stories, has become the flashpoint in the public discussion concerning variances associated with condominium and condotel proposals in Biloxi – a number that has ballooned from 4,000 proposals before Hurricane Katrina to more than 12,000 today.

Among the variances being sought by developers of the Tower and Townhomes at Edgewater was a 198-foot, 11-inch increase over the 175-foot ceiling to allow the 33-story, 373-foot-11-inch tower. Stallworth’s amendment reduced the height by 48 feet, which nonetheless required a 150-foot variance for a tower that would stand 325 feet and 11 inches tall.

The Clerk of Council is expected to deliver the proposed ordinance to Mayor A.J. Holloway on Thursday. The mayor, who has previously questioned the size of the variance, will have 10 working days to either sign or veto the proposal. The measure could also pass without his signature after 15 days, a procedure that he has rarely, if ever, used.

Should the mayor veto the measure, five councilmembers would have to vote to override the veto.

To read the original measure regarding the variances requested as part of the Edgewater condo proposal, as included on the Dec. 5 council agenda, click here.