Aldermen will consider hotel proposal for downtown Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - A multi-million dollar hotel proposal for downtown Ocean Springs is moving forward. After much debate Tuesday night, planning commission voted to give developers the go ahead.

But that's not sitting well with some neighbors like Carol Jones, who wants to have a say in how that hotel blends into her community.

"What I'm looking at are changes in this city without the people being properly notified," Jones said.

In this instance, the change is a rezoning classification, so a 30 room boutique hotel can open at 1409 Government Street, near the heart of downtown Ocean Springs.

"The chamber as a whole supports the rezoning of this area, most of all so that it doesn't lay idle," Chamber of Commerce Director Margaret Miller said.

The zoning change would allow hotel developers to build a four story inn on a .67 acre property near the edge of downtown. An attorney representing some of the homeowners reminded planning commissioners that the investment residents have made in this community must be protected.

"I believe that it will adversely affect the people in the residential area that surrounds this, well established for many, many years," attorney Malcolm Jones said.

At one point during the meeting, the mayor stood up and said the hotel deal is so attractive because of those residents.

"They're telling me they'd like to see better street lighting, better sidewalks, pipe the ditches. And we'd like to peruse that," Mayor Connie Moran said. "But of course that takes money and it takes some commercial development to generate the taxes, or else we'd have to raise taxes for all the residents."

In the end, the planning commission unanimously supported the zoning change and sent its recommendation to the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen.

Commissioners said a new hotel would be keeping up with the already continually changing city. Their hope is that citizens get on board with the idea, and that Ocean Springs becomes the best city that it can be.

The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen takes up the issue next week.

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