Belle La Vie property rezoned in Woolmarket
It was a busy day in Biloxi as the City Council had many important matters of business to attend too. Among those was the rezoning of property for the proposed Belle La Vie Development in Woolmarket.
Many Woolmarket residents feel that the Biloxi City Council has ignored their pleas when considering the rezoning of the property of the proposed Belle La Vie development which could eventually house 14,000 residents. After hearing out the roomful of protestors, two city council members did voice opposition towards the rezoning, but it was passed on a 5-2 vote, a move City Council President Robert Deming says will be best for Biloxi in the long run. “It’s been weeks and months leading up to this. Many nights I’ve lost sleep over this decision because there are so many compelling arguments on both sides, but when it boils down to it, growth is going to happen north of I-10, we just have to do it responsibly.”
Despite the lengthy deliberation, Woolmarket residents feel the vote was done without enough thought. Woolmarket Resident Tom Bocek said, “They opened Pandora’s Box. Zoning is supposed to be coveted. Zoning is supposed to protect the homeowner’s investment. That’s why we buy with coveted zoning around us. To change the zoning, that took the breaks off here, now the train has left the station.”
The attorney representing the developers says that’s not the case and there’s still a long road ahead. Attorney Wayne Hengen said, “They can’t build a house based upon the vote today. This is just the first step in a process that says ‘ok, now it’s zoned for what we need to do. Therefore, let’s go back and begin our first phase.’”
Still others say the city needs to focus on what exists, rather than expand. Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rockco said, “The city has spent millions of dollars on annexations. They’ve spent millions of dollars on bringing water and sewer into the facility while our own city, in my opinion, has been in drastic decay. It’s our time, I think, to revitalize what we have in our downtown area and when it becomes crowded then move out to the area, but urban sprawl is not one of the favored things to do.”