RV Development Plans Shot Down

A Harrison County developer's plans for a multi-million dollar project in the Woolmarket area came to a halt Tuesday night with a zoning change by the Biloxi City Council.

The project site is situated on Woolmarket land the city annexed in April of last year. Even though the project was shot down, there's still a chance it could be revived.

Ronnie Blacklidge, Sr, and his wife Becky have spent many hours touring the country in an RV. From these travels stemmed the idea to build a $5-million dollar upscale RV park on the 40 acres they own in the Woolmarket area south of Old Highway 67.

"We went all through Florida, and realized there wasn't a really a ten-ten-ten resort in Mississippi, Louisiana or Alabama," Blacklidge said. "It would have a spa in it. It would have a driving range. It would be geared to golfers."

Blacklidge says he wouldn't be the only one to reap financial benefits from the park.

"Over a ten year period, we're estimating the economic impact on just the resort alone, to be in excess of a hundred million dollars," he said.

But some residents who live near the proposed RV site oppose the project. Harold Friesner is one of them. He voiced his concerns at Tuesday night's Biloxi City Council meeting.

"Who's going to be liable? Is the city of Biloxi going to be liable if they allow something like that to be built and the Tchoutachabouff floods at 16 or 18 feet and some people drown and they can't get those motor homes out of there?" Friesner asked.

The city council thwarted Blacklidge's plans during Tuesday night's meeting, voting in line with the Planning Commission's recommendation to change the zoning of the area south of Highway 67 from agricultural to residential.

But Blacklidge still has his vision and the option to request a change from the new residential zoning to B-3 zoning, which would allow development of an RV park.

Most of the annexed Woolmarket area North of Old Highway 67 remains zoned agricultural. The council voted 6-to-1 to change the zoning for the area South of Old Highway 67 to residential.

Councilman Mike Fitzpatrick was the only one who voted against the zoning change.