Biloxi residents discuss land use

BILOXI

Those who attended the workshop on Biloxi’s proposed changes to the Land Development Ordinance Monday suggested ways to improve it.

At Monday’s meeting in West Biloxi, Councilman Tom Wall and resident Curtis Marsh asked that before the new LDO is adopted, the old Edgewater Bay Golf Course on Pass Road in West Biloxi be rezoned back to RS-5 or 7.5 in keeping with the surrounding neighborhoods.

Architect Michael LeBatard had several suggestions, including reducing the front yard setback to bring front porches closer to the sidewalk, appointing an architectural board to review waterfront designs and requiring property owners maintain landscaping after a certificate of occupancy is issued.

Craig Richardson, vice president of Clarion Associates, a North Carolina firm hired by the city to make the LDO work with the newly-adopted Biloxi Comprehensive Plan, said the new LDO uses “compensating benefits.” These give the developer an incentive to exceed standards in one area when getting a variance for another, such as reducing parking requirements to preserve a live oak tree.

In Woolmarket the proposed LDO combines the RER and RE zoning districts and allows mobile homes in both areas as a conditional use. Juli Bocek said her family chose to buy property in the RER district because they didn’t want mobile homes next to single family homes. She also questioned the conservation subdivision, which Stephen Sizemore, a senior consultant with Clarion, said would allow homes to be built on smaller lots. The density is the same, he said, but more land is set aside collectively for open space.

Other provisions of the new LDO include:

n The height restriction would be reduced from 175 feet to 75 feet in the Waterfront district, although modifications could be requested.

n The planning commission would have more say over the aesthetics of casinos and hospitality businesses

n Adult entertainment and adult stores will be allowed only in industrial zones.

n A 30-foot buffer zone will be required from any waterfront except the Mississippi Sound.

n The height of an elevated structure will be measured from the base flood elevation rather than the ground, requiring fewer variances.

By MARY PEREZ – meperez@sunherald.com
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