Court affirms City Council’s decision in Waffle House case

A court has ruled that the Biloxi City Council acted within its authority in rejecting a zoning change to allow a Waffle House to be built at Myrtle Street on Point Cadet, midway between the Palace and Golden Nugget casinos.

Circuit Court Judge Michael H. Ward also dismissed the notion that Councilman George Lawrence, who opposed the development, should have abstained from the issue since he owns property across the street from the site.

Waffle Inc. and property owner Aureus Investment Group sued the city after the City Council voted 5-2 to deny a zoning change. The suit claimed the City Council was arbitrary in its decision and that there was a public need for another Waffle House in Biloxi. The Golden Nugget and Palace casinos and nearby St. Michael’s Catholic Church also opposed the rezoning.

The court, in its Sept. 10 filing, ruled the character of the neighborhood had not changed since September 2010, when the land was zoned residential as part of an overhaul of the city’s Land Development Ordinance.

“Overall, there is substantial evidence in the record to support the City Council’s decision, that there has been no change in the character of the neighborhood,” the judge wrote. “The City Council heard testimony and considered substantial evidence” in making its decision.

The city’s Land Development Ordinance, the judge added, has no stipulation disqualifying Lawrence from voting on the issue.
Read the entire ruling