Mayor vetoes proposal for 29-story condominium tower

Mayor A.J. Holloway this afternoon vetoed three measures that would have authorized construction of a 29-story condominium tower in west Biloxi.

“We have benefited from a considerable amount of public discussion from citizens and developers alike regarding this proposal,” Holloway said in a brief, three-paragraph veto message regarding the proposed Tower and Townhomes at Edgewater. “In fact, the comments made at recent City Council meetings – by councilmembers and the public — and the 4-3 vote illustrate the polarizing impact this issue has had on many in our community.

“I am an advocate of well-managed growth and the property rights of individuals. I also appreciate the process that we have, which allows for public input and thoughtful consideration of issues.”

Concluded the mayor “I think the public is telling us that this project seeks too much of a variance over the existing 175-foot ceiling in the B-3 Hospitality Business zone.”

The Biloxi City Council, which originally received the case in December, last week voted 4-3 to approve an amended version of the proposal, reducing the number of floors from 33 to 29.

Holloway’s veto of the variances also covered two related measures: a resolution approving a master plan and conditional use for the project, and a resolution that would have approved its preliminary subdivision plat.

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

Five councilmembers would have to vote in favor of overriding the mayor’s veto, within 10 working days.

To read the mayor’s veto message, click here.

The proposal 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 proposed units before Hurricane Katrina to more than 12,000 today.

Among the variances originally being sought by developers in the Edgewater case was a 198-foot, 11-inch increase over the 175-foot ceiling allowed in a B3 Hospitality Business zone. The 29-story amendment, which was suggested by Stallworth, would have nonetheless required a 150-foot variance for the proposed tower.

The amended measure was delivered to Holloway for his response on Friday. The mayor, who has previously questioned the size of the variance, had 10 working days to act on the measure.