Holloway: Planner should be more respectful to Biloxi residents

Mayor A.J. Holloway says he takes exception to insensitive comments made by New Urbanist Andres Duany in a one-source story that appears in today’s Sun Herald.

Duany, who spent two weeks in Biloxi during the governor’s post-Katrina charettes, is quoted as having said the community has “basically committed suicide” with big, bland and boxy buildings.

“These are insensitive comments,” Holloway said, “and they are a slap in the face to the more than 200 Biloxi residents who for months worked on drafting Reviving the Renaissance, a plan of action that is addressing the quality-of-life issues important to our residents.”

Holloway said that Reviving the Renaissance committees considered Duany’s ideas and that the city welcomes private developers who embrace the New Urbanism concepts, but he agreed with residents who preferred a doable and realistic plan that was affordable.

“The economies and circumstances are different in Biloxi and Gulfport,” Holloway said. “Gulfport has been given 90 acres of land at the closed Veterans Administration site, and if they feel there is a market for a high-end Seaside-type resort development that’s their decision. I frankly couldn’t see paying hundreds of thousands of tax dollars to Mr. Duany, as well as his traveling chef and his other requirements, but, regardless, I would hope he could rein in his arrogance and be more respectful as he goes about his work.”

Holloway plans to address many of the community’s post-Katrina recovery accomplishments in his State of the City address on Feb. 11.