Planning Commission recommends new land-use and zoning laws

The Biloxi Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously recommended to the City Council a proposed Land Development Ordinance that will make sweeping changes to how the city regulates growth.

The 400-plus-page document – the result of three years of public hearings and input – will now be passed to the City Council, which will review the document and may call for another public hearing before making the proposal law. Last fall, members of the council held a number of public hearings and work sessions on the LDO.

The City Council could address the final draft by the end of this month.

The LDO — which covers regulations on such things as uses of land, height restrictions, buffer zones and setbacks – is the first comprehensive update of Biloxi’s zoning and land-use ordinances in 40 years. Also included in the project is a proposed Zoning Classification Map consistent with the proposed new ordinance.

“This Land Development Ordinance is more reflective and more attune to what’s happening in our community today,” said Biloxi Executive Planner Ed Shambra. “It formalizes the relationships between such boards as the Architectural and Historical Review Commission, Site Plan Review, and, perhaps most importantly, it will make it easier for residents and businessowners to understand the process of zoning and land-use in Biloxi.”

When the initiative was announced three years ago, Mayor A.J. Holloway said he wanted a set of ordinances that streamlined the process and made Biloxi’s land-use and zoning ordinances more user-friendly.

“I want to congratulate the Planning Commission, Community Development Director David Staehling and the staff for their hard work on this project. Both the administration and the City Council have taken extraordinary measures to have the public involved throughout this process. It’s been a time-consuming process, but an important one because with this document we’re going to be shaping the look of our city for years to come.”