Long Beach Residents Want To Limit Condo Height

Long Beach residents remain active in the ongoing debate over proposed condominium development.

They filled City Hall for a public hearing Monday night. And some citizens spent much of the day Thursday at the harbor, collecting petition signatures.

"They just got to look down there at the Grand and see how bad it looks down there. And they want to put that stuff up here," said one resident, as she looked toward the high rise development to the east.

Condo height seems to be the biggest worry of many Long Beach residents. The petition drive wants to convince city leaders to allow towers no taller than the treetops.

Martita Pierce helped organize the effort.

"I would really rather not have it any higher than 50 feet. But if we have to have it in certain areas, then the west part of Long Beach where it is appropriate and it fits with the environment and the area. 100 feet, that's ten stories. That's high," she said.

Longtime resident Lloyd Johnson signed the petition. He agrees there's a place for high rises.

"If you want to go down to the other end of Long Beach, where the Wal Mart is there in Pass Christian, you want to go 15 or 20 stories, fine. The neighborhood can take it. But don't have somebody's back yard looking up at a 25 story," said Johnson.

On a day when city leaders talked of history, while unveiling a schedule of centennial activities, many residents worry about development's impact on the next hundred years.

"Out of state developers, seeking profit, does put Long Beach at the crossroads," said Long Beach native, Charlie Boggs.

The Long Beach mayor says while some type of development along the water front is inevitable, he'd like to assure residents that the much-talked-about quality of life in this town will be a priority, whatever the development decision might be.

"To get the best for the city, without taking away our small town atmosphere. They'll be some change. But it is also economic development. And we do need some," said Mayor Billy Skellie.

Citizens will deliver their petitions to city leaders on Tuesday night. That's when the board of aldermen is holding a workshop to discuss the proposed ordinance regulating any proposed development.