Casino talk resurfaces in Diamondhead

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Could a casino come to Diamondhead? A developer who proposed building a casino in the southwest part of Diamondhead five years ago is making the pitch again. However many residents hope the leaders of the coast's newest city will say "no" to this proposal.

Frank and Jerilyn Faulstich love the view from the balcony of their Diamondhead home. The couple rebuilt their dream home after Hurricane Katrina, and only after Hancock County supervisors refused to rezone the area to allow a casino.

"We choose Diamondhead because we were protected by our covenants to be a residential area, and then the casino reared its ugly head once again," said Jerilyn Faulstich. "And now here we are in the middle of an area, a residential area, that they are trying to re-zone for commercial and gaming."

The game has now changed. Diamondhead is now a city with its own elected leaders making the zoning decisions.

The same developer shot down by supervisors is lobbying the Diamondhead planners to rezone property in the southwest corner of the city where the Harbor House condos once stood. Though a casino would bring in tax money and jobs, the Faulstichs see the potential for too many problems.

"Crime, traffic, 18-wheelers, delivery trucks, campers coming right off of the interstate," said Jerilyn.

"We have to defeat this idea that they can put a casino there once and for all," Frank said.

There is another spot in Diamondhead many say would be better suited for a casino. Less than a mile away, 408 acres on the southeast side of Diamondhead is already zoned for a casino.

"We're not opposed to casinos at all. There are other locations here on the south side of Diamondhead that could serve the purpose better," said Diamondhead resident Scott Levanway.

Levanway worries about his property values falling if a casino goes into the Harbor House location. He and the Faulstichs hope Diamondhead leaders will hear them.

"We're simply about opposing a square peg in a round hole. It's just the wrong spot for it, that's all," explained Levanway.

A zoning hearing will be held June 26th at 2pm at Diamondhead City Hall.

Jacobs Entertainment is based in Colorado. We tried to reach the company's local attorney for a comment, but the attorney did not return our calls.

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