Waveland Neighbors Fighting Proposed Development

A plan to build affordable housing for the elderly in Waveland is being met with some stiff opposition. Gulfside Methodist Assembly has proposed building 36 single family homes on property it owns off of Sears Avenue. But as WLOX News found out, few neighbors are ready to put out the welcome mat.

Paul and Carolyn Hollister left New Orleans three years ago. They say they don't want a retirement community across the street from their Waveland home.

"We're very concerned. If we got a lot of rain and they had housing built across the street, all that water would flow toward our house and create flooding problems in the neighborhood," Paul said.

His wife Carolyn agreed.

"Our neighborhood just can not take an R-3 rating and have such an increase in traffic, in flooding, in sewerage problems. We just can't do it."

Neighbors down the street oppose the plan for different reasons.

"I understand the elderly need low housing, but it doesn't work for one thing - Whenever the elderly get in these subsided housing they will have family that will push their way in. It's going to become a ghetto. I've seen it happen in New Orleans. It's blacks and whites, Asians everybody," Audrey Gai said.

The project architect Allison Anderson says renters will have to meet strict government guidelines, so the development will have little impact on the neighborhood.

"We designed it to fit the neighborhood to fit the scale of the neighborhood and to fit the look of the neighborhood. Hardy planked wood siding, metal roofs, that sort of thing, so that it looks as if it's always been there," Anderson said. "We have gotten a promise from the city of Waveland to do $600,000 worth of improvements to the infrastructure in the neighborhood."

Still residents worry a subsidized retirement community will devalue their property and they already have 200 signatures on a petition against the project. Developers need a zoning change in the area before anything can go up. Right now the property is zoned R-1 for single family homes, that would have to be changed to R-3 Multi family residences.

There will be a public hearing on the issue June 23rd at 6pm in the Courtroom at the Waveland Police Station on Highway 90.

by Al Showers