Proposed Marina Faces Opposition

The developer of an upscale condominium project in Ocean Springs wants that development to include a boardwalk along the bayou and a twenty four slip marina.

But some neighboring property owners oppose the marina project. They fear the marina will destroy wetlands, disturb wildlife habitat and attract pollution.

The developer says those fears are unfounded.

Anne Marie Morteton is leading the opposition to the proposed marina. She's lived on Ft. Bayou for more than thirty years and says this pristine marshland is no place for a commercial marina.

More than a dozen specific concerns are outlined in an opposition letter to the Department of Marine Resources.

"The ecology of the area. The pollution of the bayou. The destruction of the marsh. The habitat for the fish and wildlife. We have so much wildlife around here," said Moreton.

Treasure Oak Country Club is the other adjoining property owner next door to the development. The club has its own small fishing pier and boat launch. The membership fears the marina would dramatically increase boat traffic on the bayou and have a negative impact on the aesthetics of the waterfront.

"The congregation of such a large number of boats in such a small area here. The proposed marina will have twenty four slips of up to sixty five feet in length, which means boats of up to seventy five feet could be in there," said Dr. Pete Mitchell, a member of the Treasure Oak Country Club board of trustees.

A spokesman for the developer assures opponents the marina will meet all environmental regulations. Patrick Barber says the upscale project wants to be a good neighbor.

"I think that what you have is some neighbors that haven't had this. So, they may want to see it differently. And so we'll try and deal with all those things and try to find a balance. I hope everyone comes with an open heart and mind,"said Barber.

The next step for the proposed marina is a public hearing before the Department of Marine Resources. The DMR will then consider the project's impact on the environment and decide whether or not to give the plans the go ahead.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6pm on December 17th at the DMR headquarters on Bayview Avenue in Biloxi.