Mississippi City residents claim Smart Code is being ignored - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi City residents claim Smart Code is being ignored

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi City still shows the scars left behind by Hurricane Katrina.  There are dozens of empty lots, and very few businesses.  After the storm, Smart Code guidelines were adopted for the historic neighborhood. But Michael Richardson, Jim Boernge, and Jim Seidule feel Smart Code is nothing more than an afterthought these days.  

"Now we see that the city is talking about making it optional or applied at will with no community inspection and this circumvents completely the process that we set up," Richardson said. 

There's a real concern the quiet neighborhood could be overrun by commercial development that doesn't fit in. 

"We were looking at in the design of smart code protecting the residential areas to have them stay looking like residential areas," Boernge said.

The people who call Mississippi City home and have for years say they're not against development, they like development, they just want the right kind of development, something under Smart Code. 

"The smart code has businesses such as condos going up to five or six stories, they have that in there, they have such things as boutiques, they have restaurants, they have walk-throughs," Seidule said.  "All those things are there, they could all be on 16th Street facing the beach." 

If Smart Code guidelines are not followed, Richardson says some residents night leave.

"Specifically when a party buys a commercial property that abuts a residential neighborhood and then gradually does things to that property that make it uninhabitable for the people who were originally there to begin with." 

That's the last thing these neighbors want to do, make a choice between staying, or leaving their beloved neighborhood.

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