Development Proposed for Woolmarket Area
Biloxi planners have given initial approval to a development that could eventually have 14,000 residents. A lawyer for the developers calls it a city within a city, but not all residents of Woolmarket are on board with the idea.
William Plummer has lived in Woolmarket his whole life. He enjoys the peace and quiet of his rural neighborhood, living away from the daily grind of city life. “One thing, the crime. You don’t have much crime out here in Woolmarket. It’s just a nice neighborhood. It’s good people, honest people, hardworking people.”
Plummer tells News 25 he believes it would not be a good step for the Biloxi City Council to approve rezoning for Belle La Vie, a 626 acre proposed development in an annexed area of the city. This area is close to his home, situated north of I-10 between Old Woolmarket Road and Lorraine Road. It will accommodate single and multifamily housing, a commercial area and retirement community. “ You don’t know what kind of people you’re going to be bringing in here. I mean, I’m not against people because I know they have to have a place to live, but at the same time, you move out to a rural area so you can have peace and quiet and good neighbors,” said Plummer.
Some residents can see how more development might not be such a bad idea. Woolmarket resident Chris Laut said, “There are plusses and minuses to bringing in a whole bunch of folks that are not going to be from here originally. The plus is more population and that’s revenue for the City of Biloxi.”
News 25 reached out to developers Pitcher Point Investments. They say: “The residential and commercial offerings within Belle la Vie will meet the current and future market needs while delivering high quality, market-rate, sustainable development to Biloxi. Market-rate means that the planned
development for the Belle la Vie Master Planned Community is medium to high end and as such there will be no low-income, subsidized or tax credit units. In more than 50-years in the development business the developers have never developed low-income or subsidized housing and there is no plan to ever develop anything but market-rate projects.”
The City Council is set to vote on the rezoning request at their next meeting.
The following is the complete statement from Pitcher Point Investments:
The Belle la Vie Master Planned Community is a proposed mixed-use
development located on a 626±-acre tract in the desirable Woolmarket area of
North Biloxi, Mississippi. The Belle la Vie Master Planned Community
combines residential, a Continuing Care Retirement Community and commercial
uses with direct access to more abundant green space and recreational
amenities than any other existing community development in the city of
Three-miles north of I-10, one-mile east of HWY 605 and one-mile west of New
HWY 67, Belle la Vie is strategically located within 15-minutes of 85% of
all existing and projected jobs in Biloxi and East-Gulfport. Belle la Vie
is only eight (8) miles and 15-minutes from the beach (see attached map).
Belle la Vie was unaffected by hurricanes Katrina (CAT 3) and Isaac (CAT 1).
The property sustained no flood, tidal surge or wind damage. Hurricane Isaac
(August 2012), was a non-event at Belle la Vie. The average elevation is
approximately 65’ above sea level, which is 48’ above the Katrina Surge. The
resulting business and home insurance premiums will be among the lowest on
the Mississippi Gulf Coast. When you consider the flood and surge zones and
then account for the De Soto National Forest, wetlands and pre-existing
development on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and in Biloxi, Belle la Vie is a
premium site for a master planned community within 15-minutes of all
Belle la Vie is close to schools. Biloxi High, a National Blue Ribbon
School, is located within seven (7) miles of Belle la Vie. Woolmarket Middle
School (K-8) is within one mile of Belle la Vie. Woolmarket Elementary
School (K-6) is one mile away. D’Iberville High School is four (4) miles
from Belle la Vie and St. Patrick’s Catholic School is within five (5) miles
of the community. As Belle la Vie is developed, tax revenues will provide
more than enough income for state-of-the-art school programs and expansion.
The Belle la Vie design concept combines a self-contained and sequestered,
internalized Smart-Growth model, with modern, code conforming development
principles. Because the Master Planned community is internalized, the
traffic in Belle La Vie will also be internalized and will draw existing
traffic off the County and city roads. All the needs of the residents of
Belle La Vie will be provided for within the Master Planned Community which
will improve the traffic flow of the Woolmarket area.
The residential and commercial offerings within Belle la Vie will meet the
current and future market needs while delivering high quality, MARKET-RATE,
sustainable development to Biloxi. MARKET-RATE means that the planned
development for the Belle la Vie Master Planned Community is medium to high
end and as such there will be no low-income, subsidized or tax credit units.
In more than 50-years in the development business the developers have never
developed low-income or subsidized housing and there is no plan to ever
develop anything but MARKET-RATE projects.
Belle la Vie will create many internal jobs and many of those employees will
live in Belle le Vie. It’s important to recognize that the commercial
parcels are in the center of the Master Planned Community and in most cases,
are more than a mile from a project boundary. The townhomes and
condominiums that are developed will be medium to high end units and they
will be located in the center of the Master Planned Community for the people
who work at Belle la Vie in the future.
Belle la Vie’s residents will have direct access to high quality,
family-oriented amenities and services that will enhance and simplify their
lifestyle. We envision these offerings to include professional and medical
services; shopping and dining; entertainment; and recreation and fitness
opportunities. Master planned communities cause the value of contiguous real
estate to increase.
The inclusion of internalized amenities will minimize traffic on existing
County and city roadways. The east-west cross-country road will enable all
County and Biloxi citizens to enjoy the commercial and professional service
offerings at Belle la Vie and this will bolster the County and City of
Biloxi’s sales tax revenues. The Belle la Vie cross-country-road will
increase the efficiency of the traffic patterns in the Woolmarket area.
We are committed to working in partnership with the City of Biloxi to
provide high quality, market-rate, sustainable development and a tax-basis
that will enhance Biloxi’s forward progress.