Biloxi Land Development Ordinance Could Impact Keesler - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/27/03

Biloxi Land Development Ordinance Could Impact Keesler

A special meeting was called on Thursday for officials of Keesler Air Force base to provide more details in order to support their request.

The base wants the approved height restriction of 110 feet to be extended 1-and a quarter nautical miles from the end of the runway.

"Our C130s and other aircraft that come to Keesler to train require an environment where they can learn to fly to train our pilots and tactical patterns. Those tactical patterns are the same patterns we use every time we deploy around the world in areas where it is not always safe to fly. So those training patterns require us to approach at lower levels which means we have to have avenues of approach into the airfield that are not obstructed and that are safe for the air crews to fly around," General Michael Peterson said.

However, if height restrictions are extended, some believe the future of Biloxi development could be in jeopardy.

"It would have a financial catastrophic impact on Treasure Bay, Sea Breeze, the tribal family that has a condominium project on the works, because to maximize the property you need to go up. And that's the very issue that we're running into now," attorney Britt Singletary said.

"The training that we're asking to do is absolutely essential. the department of defense will do this training . If it can't be accomplished at Keesler, and I mean not today , but in some future time when construction around the airfield doesn't permit it,if it can't be accomplished here, we'll take the training elsewhere," General Peterson said.

How high is fair for Keesler as well as for the people who paid millions of dollars to acquire these properties?

That question has yet to be answered.

The planning commission will meet again with Keesler officials on July 3.

By Karla Redditte

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