Waveland's Mayor Speaks Out On Proposed Retirement Community

There is growing opposition to a proposed low income retirement community in Waveland. We first told you about the planned development Monday.

Gulfside United Methodist Assembly wants to build a 36 unit complex for people 62 year of age or older. The independent living homes would be located on property Gulfside owns between Sears Avenue and South Street.

City leaders are now taking issue with a comment made by the project architect in Monday's report.

City leaders say since our report first aired, phones at City Hall have been ringing off the hook. On the other end, angry residents wanting to know if what the project architect said is true. Is the city really going to spend $600,000 on streets and drainage around the proposed retirement community.

"The city has never been approached about any kind of commitment to this project. It's still before planing and zoning. We would never make a commitment to a project before it had ever seen the light of day," Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo said.

Longo says in most cases developers are responsible for the cost of all infrastructure upgrades. Longo says Gulfside leaders have talked to him about a multi million dollar building program at Gulfside's retreat center on the Beach. But he's never been approached about the retirement project.

"The city of Waveland has always been supportive of Gulfside Assembly and their capital improvements, work they are doing on the existing site. It's a National historic site. It's been an economic development force for the community and the city of Waveland. But this is a project separate unto itself. The city has no commitment or standing on this project," Longo said.

In order to build the retirement community Gulfside needs a zoning change in the area from single family homes to multi family dwellings. Mayor Longo says that's unlikely.

"There have been attempts in the past to rezone that area for multi family housing. One was a condo project. I believe another was multi family apartments, and those efforts have failed. The neighborhood in that area is very committed to the integrity of their neighborhood."

Late Tuesday afternoon, Gulfside Assembly leaders asked to have the rezoning request removed from the agenda of next week's planning meeting. Gulfside says it will hold some public meetings to get more input on the project before moving forward.

by Al Showers