A unanimous decision was made last night to pass a zoning change request from a developer for two parcels of land in Gautier. This developer wants to construct 332 homes on a plot of about 86 acres on the south side of Old Spanish Trail near Ocean Springs High School.
A month ago the planning commission decided against this zoning change and as of Tuesday night it was approved. This approval coming after Mayor Phil Torjusen and a member of the city council sat down with the president of the company to address some issues from residents. “The decision made last night allows the developer to move forward with his mediation and he is ultimately going to have to bring a final plan back to the board,” said Mayor Torjusen.
This rezoning takes the area from a residential 1 to a planned unit development or PUD District. This change downsizes the allotted width of the lots from 80 feet down to 60. Some feel this change is unnecessary and will be more problems down the road with over-development. Concerned resident Dale Boudreaux said, “I am not against change. I am not against development, but if the guy wanted to build as many houses as he could following the residential 1 code there would have been no opposition. Over-development would be my caution.”
The city said the changes come with reason. “The primary reason they wanted to do that was because there are a lot of wetlands associated with this property and there is going to be some mediation costs associated with that. So, if you can get another ten percent houses on that property that will offset that cost.”
Mayor Torjusen says they are planning to add holding ponds for the excess water from the wetlands as well which was a main concern for some residents. “Some of those places that is in this proposal, it floods. You are going to put 332 slabs of concrete, when it rains you get two inches out there that water has to go somewhere and I hope it isn’t any of the other resident’s houses in that area.”
According to Mayor Torjusen the development will have quality homes for sale and no low income rentals and will have a huge financial gain for the city. “When this project is at its maturity, it will add to the tax base of Gautier by over $70 million.”
Overall Mayor Torjusen says it will be an eight to ten year project where they will have the concerns of the citizens in mind throughout.