Gaming Commission weighs in on casino zoning

Mayor A.J. Holloway says a letter this week from the Mississippi Gaming Commission makes it clear that the commission will be the final authority on whether a site is approved for gaming, even though it may receive local zoning.

Gaming Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pe and Director Larry Gregory in a July 11 letter said that the commission has been following reports of a proposed Tilovi project and specifically the City Council’s request for the Planning Commission to conduct public hearings concerning potential re-zoning of that beachfront property.

The letter stressed that, local zoning notwithstanding, the commission is the sole authority in determining the legality and suitability of gaming sites, and those sites must be attached to the water’s edge and “the ‘water’s edge’ must become an integral part of the physical development of the property.”

“I think the Gaming Commission makes it pretty clear that regardless of what the zoning is, the commission is going to be the final authority on deciding whether a site is legal and suitable for gaming,” the mayor said this afternoon. “I think that’s pretty clear.

“At the same time, property owners have a legal right to make application for zoning changes, and they are guaranteed those rights by the courts. As mayor, however, I am not going to get crossways of the Gaming Commission, the Legislature or the Governor over this issue.

“I think it’s interesting, though, that the Gaming Commission specifically mentions East Biloxi as a place where there is a burden to see development.”

To read the complete text of the Mississippi Gaming Commission letter, which was sent to the mayor and City Council, click here.