July 19, 2008

Rezoning Denial Rescinded

By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Jul. 19--BILOXI -- After the Biloxi Planning Commission voted 7-6 Thursday to deny rezoning of 81 acres in East Biloxi to Waterfront, the commissioners rescinded that vote and will revisit the issue at the Aug. 7 meeting.

"It's not something that happens very often," said Executive Planner Edward Shambra. He's seen the commission rescind the vote only once before, but said it is within the commissioners' rights as long as they do it at the same meeting.

"They want to look at it again," said Shambra. "They felt they didn't fully explore it." He said the confusion may have taken place because the discussion also included the minutes of last week's Map & Text Committee of the Planning Commission.

The vote came after representatives of the Community Development Department came directly from the Mississippi Gaming Commission meeting and reported the South Beach Casino project was turned down.

Shambra said the city also will ask the Gaming Commission for clarification of the South Beach ruling and how that will affect the area between Dukate and Kuhn streets and the possibility of building a casino there.

The Gaming Commission's decision Thursday said a casino project must have control of the land all the way to the water's edge, with no strip of public sand beach between the casino-owned land and the water.

The City Council had hoped to get the planning commission's recommendation by Aug. 2, said Shambra. But in light of the South Beach decision, Shambra said the planning commission wants to consider whether the land should be rezoned to a commercial classification, which is not as intensive as Waterfront.


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