BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A potential new neighbor has people who live or who own property near Wells Drive in Biloxi taking sides. This week supporters and opponents of a proposed RV park made their arguments before the Biloxi city council about a zoning change request from residential to business.
On his 14 acres, John Gill envisions the Biloxi Bay RV Park Resort. His plans are for about 80 spaces for RVs to hook up along with activities like goofy golf, a pool, and splash pad.
"This is going to be an upscale RV park with a lot of nice amenities," said Gill. "Biloxi could use another RV park. The existing ones are full."
However, nearby property owner Wayne Hengen said residential neighborhood is no place for an RV park. He is among the nearly 50 people who've signed a petition asking the Biloxi city council not rezone the land for business use.
"To put a big business pretty much in the middle, in the heart of that is just not a good fit," Hengen said. "The law says they actually have to show the character of this neighborhood has gone from neighborhood to business. They really I don't think have met the burden of proof to show that."
With E-Fitness next door and with condos and an assisted living facility in the area developer John Gill argues business is already here. The planning commission agreed and recommends the zoning change.
Gill's attorney Michael Cavanaugh said, "I think the Planning Commission got it right. They have clearly proven there has been a change in the character of the neighborhood . They've proven that the project that is being proposed in this area fits the public need of this community."
"There is only one side of the property that has residences, and that is three blocks away," said Gill. "Some of the opposition is misleading people just to get support."
Hengen said the business in the neighborhood are different because they are made up of local people.
"The people in the condominium are residents. The people in the assisted living are residents," said Hengen. "But the people who come in off the highway from a different area are strangers in the neighborhood that temporarily stay there. They are not part of the neighborhood, don't interact with the neighborhood and are strangers to the people who live in the neighborhood and are raising their children there. That's really unfair."
The Biloxi city council tabled the zoning change request earlier this week and is scheduled to discuss the matter again next month.