Long Beach Housing Development Raises Concerns - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/24/04

Long Beach Housing Development Raises Concerns

One of the biggest developers in the Southeast is planning a new neighborhood in Long Beach.

The Mitchell Companies has already received approval from the city planning commission for a development called "Green Oaks Lakes". The project is a "planned unit development" to be located just east of Green Acres subdivision.

Green Oaks Lakes will feature a combination of traditional houses, town homes and cottages. As you might expect, neighbors are most concerned with the impact of such a large development. They worry about things like traffic and drainage and property values.

"It's great. You can hear the birds singing and hear the frogs at night," said Kimberly Fain, as she strolled through her front yard on North Seashore Avenue.

North Seashore is the kind of neighborhood that's perfect for young Michael and big sister Ali to have fun on their bikes.

"It's great for the kids. They can ride their bikes up and down the street. Don't have to worry about traffic with it being dead end," Fain said.

The dead end may soon become one of four entrances into "Green Oaks Lakes". A mix of 200 new homes is planned for the nearly 50 acre site just down the street from the Fain's.

"That's a big concern. We've been told by the developers it will not be a main thoroughfare. But when you look at the map, in my opinion, I don't see how that will be avoided. It's a very narrow road. It's a dead end now, which we're used to," she explained.

The mayor likes the project but says city leaders must make certain Long Beach isn't overwhelmed.

"Whether it's drainage, traffic, water, sewer. You name it. We have to make sure that something is not going to impede or negatively impact somebody's quality of life in the surrounding area," said Mayor Robert Bass.

Long Beach neighbors who'd like to know what the proposed development might look like can find out by taking a short drive to Gulfport. The Hidden Oaks project just off Three Rivers Road is being build by the same developer and is quite similar to the planned community in Long Beach.

Harrison County supervisor, Larry Benefield, is working with the developer on the Long Beach project.

"It's a neighborhood environment. It's for children. This is a neighborhood that we build for the elderly lady that wants to retire as well at the young family that's coming along and has one or two little one," said Benefield.

Kimberly Fain has visited Hidden Oaks. She likes the looks, but still has questions.

"Our lifestyle. How much will it change? What kind of impact will it have on what we're used to now?", Fain wondered.

Long Beach residents who'd like more information about the development should circle July 6th on their calendars. A public hearing before the board of aldermen will be held at six o'clock Tuesday evening, July 6th at the city hall annex.

By Steve Phillips

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