DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - There will be no casino in Diamondhead, at least not for now. In a surprise move, Jacobs Entertainment withdrew its application for a zoning change for Diamondhead's Southside. Last month, planning and zoning commissioners denied the request.
Monday night, city council members were expected to make the final decision on rezoning the land.
Jacobs Entertainment needed acreage where the Harbor House condos once stood to be re-zoned from residential to a commercial casino district. Diamondhead Planning and zoning commissioners said 'no' to the idea, but city council members were to have the final say.
"Today a letter was received from the attorney for Diamondhead reality LLC and Jacobs where they were no longer pursuing the zoning change request," said City Attorney Sean Tindell.
The developer's move was welcome news to nearby residents who opposed the plan.
"We were very pleased to hear that the city council agreed with the planning and zoning recommendation not to rezone the residential property," said Jerilyn Faulstich.
Jerilyn and Frank Faulstich say they won't feel totally at ease until the issue is put to rest for good.
"I don't know that this problem will go away until they go before the Mississippi Gaming Commission. And if they get a final word one way or another from the Mississippi Gaming Commission, I think that would help everybody on this situation," said Frank Faulstich.
Folks in favor of the zoning change to allow a casino came wearing visual aids for city leaders.
"We started a grass roots effort for those who were in favor of the casino to wear red shirts to the meeting. Red signifying anger and outrage for the taxes that are coming to the residents, business owners and property owners. We wanted people to show up and show the council who was in favor of it," explained resident Russell Frank.
But when the opponents heard about the red shirt campaign, they decided to wear red too so city leaders wouldn't be able to tell who was for or against the issue.
The letter from Jacobs gave no reason for pulling the re-zoning request. City council members said they found no legal reason to rezone the property, but encouraged the developer to take the plan before the State Gaming Commission.
"It seems to be the consensus that over 70 percent of the population in favor of it and I'd just like to go on record to say that you guys need to continue talk to your council people and push for them to explore other ways of making it happen," Ward 1 Councilman Joseph Lopez said.
No word on whether Jacobs plans to do that.