Request to rezone property for casino denied in Diamondhead - - The News for South Mississippi

Request to rezone property for casino denied in Diamondhead

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Rendering of the casino development. Rendering of the casino development.
Rendering of the aquarium in the casino. Rendering of the aquarium in the casino.
Planning and zoning committee met on Wednesday. Planning and zoning committee met on Wednesday.
Area were development request rezoning. Area were development request rezoning.

A decision was made Wednesday evening on a zoning battle that would have opened the doors to a casino development in the southwest corner of Diamondhead. City planning and zoning commissioners shot-down a developer's request to re-zone a piece of property it needs from a residential to a commercial resort district.

Jacobs Entertainment unveiled its preliminary plans for a multimillion dollar casino development.

The plans call for some high end amenities designed to attract tourists. Like an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor large tube Aquarium.   

"You're inside the aquarium looking up at the fish. So this is a sample of the ideas we have tried to undertake," said David Greenwall with Jacobs Entertainment.

To go forward Jacobs Entertainment needed a zoning change on property where the Harbor House condos once stood.

The developer needed to prove there has been a significant change in the character of the area since the neighborhood was first zoned residential nine months ago.

The developer's attorney argued 82 percent of the condo owners have sold or are selling their property to Jacobs Entertainment.

Michael Cavanaugh, Attorney Jacobs Entertainment;

"That is an overwhelming percentage and a substantial change in the character of this neighborhood," said Jacobs Entertainment attorney Michael Cavanaugh.

Robert Wyble, Attorney Property Owners;

"When this ordinance went into place nine months ago people counted on that. Nothing has changed since then, not a single thing," said Robert Wyble the attorney for the property owners. 

Residents on both sides of the issue weighed in.

"I'm opposed to re-zoning residential and commercial property located in Diamondhead.  Zoning is a promise to preserve a location for a particular use. We should be able to trust that the promise will be kept," Diamondhead resident Molly Cunnie said.

 "We have property rights and those rights are going to trampled on. And our property is going to be de-valued," Sanita Walker, Diamondhead Resident said.

"I'm here to show my support for the re-zoning. There seems to be a fear that if we give this re-zoning to the Jacobs group we're going to lose control and there will be a truck stop casino or whatever they decide to put down there. We all know that's not true," Diamondhead resident David Mally said.

In the end planning and zoning commissioners agreed with the opponents and denied the developers zoning change request. The Diamondhead city council will have the final say. Following Wednesday's decision, the developer said the issue is far from over. The request will go before the city council on Monday, July 15 at 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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