Landon Road dirt pit gets OK

Supervisors uphold Planning Commission’s decision

BILOXI

Harrison County supervisors voted 4-1 Monday to give a developer a permit for a 40-acre dirt pit north of Landon Road.

Developer Larry Benefield, a former supervisor, wanted a conditional use permit to open the pit so he could bid on the proposed Mississippi 601. The road will be a connector road between the Port of Gulfport and Canal Road and could be extended further north.

The Planning Commission approved the permit in January, but two residents appealed it, saying the dirt pit doesn’t fit in with the character of the neighborhood and will cause property values to decrease.

“The pattern of growth has been residential and commercial,” said Marvin Koury, whose home is on Orange Grove Road in front of the proposed dirt pit. “For us not to recognize that is hard to swallow.”

Landon Road resident Gordon Redd Jr. said he also is concerned about the increased traffic once the dirt pit opens.

“There’s no way our residents can deal with the amount of trucks on Canal and Landon roads,” he said. “There’s plenty of places for a dirt pit, but not here.”

But Benefield and his attorney, Ron Peresich, told the board the dirt pit will not be a detriment to the area and once the road is built, Benefield will close the pit and turn the land into wetlands.

“Nothing’s going to happen out there that’s going to harm anybody, much less the county,” Peresich said.

He added the company, Harrison Holdings LLC, also will have to get a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Quality. The county engineer also will have to approve the company’s drainage plan.

“This road is needed, and it will be built,” Benefield said. “But if 601 is not built, not one shovel of dirt will be moved.”

The company had to get the permit before it could bid for work on the road.

The appeal lasted more than 90 minutes, but there was little discussion by the board after both sides stated their cases.

Supervisor William Martin voted against it.

“I just feel there are other locations where we can put a dirt pit that we have fewer issues with,” he said.

Redd and his attorney, Harry Allen, said they likely would appeal the decision to circuit court.

How they voted

The Harrison County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Monday to uphold a Planning Commission decision to give Harrison Holdings LLC a conditional-use permit for a dirt pit north of Landon Road:

@BR Boxtext bold lede colon:Voting for: Marlin Ladner, Connie Rockco, Kim Savant and Windy Swetman

Voting against: William Martin

By MELISSA M. SCALLAN – mmscallan@sunherald.com

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