Concerned Biloxi residents want to appeal waterfront rezoning

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Upset Biloxi residents tried to get an appeal on Biloxi's rezoning decision for the area west of Interstate 110 on the back bay, but the appeal was filed too late.

Back in October, the Biloxi City Council voted in favor of rezoning 19 acres mostly west of I-110 as waterfront. Gaming is allowed within waterfront zoning.

Wayne Hengen represents the owners of the potential casino site. He told WLOX News the appeal was filed by neighbors who are against the land being used as a casino.

Hengen said the appeal had to be filed within 10 days of when the decision was made at the meeting. He tells us Judge Lawrence Bourgeois ruled the circuit court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal because it was filed too late and dismissed it.

So what's next for the potential casino site?

Hengen says the property owners need to file a notice of intent, then move forward with asking the state gaming commission to decide if the land can be used as a casino site.

The I-110 bridge is the Mississippi Gaming Commission's dividing line for cutting off gaming sites, and the new waterfront property is on the opposite side of the line.

"Current regulations restrict legal gaming sites south of the Bay to east of the center line of I-110.  There is ample land along the bay east of I-110 where the taxpayers of Biloxi and Mississippi have developed roads and infrastructure," Gaming Commissioner John Hairston told WLOX News in October.

"It would be practical to develop that available area before reopening regulations to create more sites, especially if newly proposed sites are potentially disruptive to mature neighborhoods. That said, until MGC has an application for a site, I have no opinion on any rumored proposal."

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