Temporary High Rise Halt Baffles Some - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/18/03

Temporary High Rise Halt Baffles Some

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway says he's not trying to stop high rise development. He says it's just a temporary halt. Holloway wants the city council, the planning commission and Keesler to be on the same page when it comes to height restrictions.

Biloxi's height restrictions vary depending on how an area is zoned. The mayor says Keesler officials are concerned about base air traffic and want tighter height restrictions than the ones the city planning commission is now approving.

"So what we have to do is get Keesler to meet with the planning commission and explain the reason for the additional restrictions on the heights. So this is time for Keesler and the Biloxi Planning Commission to get together to make a recommendation back to the city council for adoption," Holloway says.

In the meantime, the mayor says the developers of two proposed condos should keep working on their plans. But Council member Tom Wall says the high rise halt, though temporary, sends a bad message to builders - especially since Keesler's general has reassured the city over and over that neither the Portofino nor the Sea Breeze condo projects would interfere with Keesler planes.

"He doesn't want to stop these two, and he's said that. We just have some people that are trying' to be a little bit too cautious I think and we're going' back on our word on things and it's very frustrating," Wall says.

One of the Sea Breeze partners feels that frustration.

"Our project is one that's already been issued a permit once and then we had to back up and go through the hoops that we've done to get it again. We've got everything and we just figured that our project should be a grandfathered project," developer Pat Barber says.

The suspension could also impact Treasure Bay Casino's relocation plans. However, the casino's Jackson attorney told me they will continue meeting with the planning commission and going through the steps they need to get all the required permits to move.

The high rise halt is in place until July 16th. However the Mayor Holloway says if necessary, it will be extended.

byMarcia Hill

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