Planning Commission denies approval for next phase of The Sands

The Board of Aldermen will have the final say if plans push forward

Planning Commission denies approval for next phase of The Sands

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Sands in Ocean Springs hit another snag Tuesday night after the Planning Commission denied approval on the sketch plat for the development.

The project needed three things to move forward. The first is the sketch plat approval. The Board of Aldermen will now vote on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny it. That will happen at the meeting Tuesday, January 15.

If the board votes to overturn the Planning Commission’s recommendation and approves the sketch plat plan, the project moves on to the next step, which is approving the preliminary plat. That consists of engineering, infrastructure, etc. If step two is approved, the board will move on to vote on step three, the final plat. The final plat is the building of homes.

THOSE FOR AND AGAINST THE PROJECT

Several neighbors against the development spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, as well as an attorney for those opposed. Buyers who have already purchased land at The Sands also were in attendance.

Debra Littlepage said she’s owned property in Ocean Springs and was looking forward to owning a townhome in The Sands.

“I want this because it’s my life’s dream to live in such a beautiful place in such a beautiful structure. I’ve dreamed about this since I was a teenager," said Littlepag.e “I love Ocean Springs and I think this development is going to be outstanding for not only bringing all kinds of taxes for the city and the state, but also to add to the revenue that all the retail stores that can definitely benefit because they’re within walking distance."

Some residents aren’t sold on the 57 townhome development. The area would include nine buildings, a pool and park, as well as guest parking. One question at Tuesday’s meeting was the definition of “group housing.” That ultimately led members of the planning commission to vote down the sketch plat plans.

The developer also spoke at the meeting. Mike Butler with Butler Homes has been working on this project for four years. He and his team say they’ve secured five buyers and have fielded calls from 11 more interested buyers in the past month.

A TIMELINE OF THE SANDS

We first told you about plans for The Sands in February. Mayor Shea Dobson said this project would be a game changer, a catalyst for future growth in the area.

Construction was halted in September after residents filed a lawsuit claiming plans aren’t up to code. At this point, the Board of Aldermen told the developer the original plan to build 41, detached homes in the lot at Martin Drive didn’t meet zoning regulations. The developer went back to the drawing board and came up with a new plan for 57 attached townhomes.

In December, the team behind the project presented their new plans to the board but not vote was taken. The Board of Aldermen wanted to allow time to review complaints from residents. At this time, a big complaint from people in the area was that the homes would become rentals.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Board of Aldermen will vote on the Planning Commission’s recommendation to deny the sketch plat approval at their next meeting on January 15. It’s at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

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