Supervisors Give Thumbs Down To Condos

At nearly 16 acres, the tree covered property along Highway 90 in Henderson Point, is probably the largest tract of land available for beachfront building. There are already condos within a mile of the four, eight story high rises that a developer wants to put there.

"We've worked very, very hard to design this project in a way that's complementary to the site that it utilizes the property in such a way that it is visually appropriate and within the context of the area," planning consultant Kathryn Garner says.

The area is zoned multi-family. The developer needs a variance to add 93 units to the 227 that are allowed.

The project's attorney says condos are part of the Coast's future, whether people like them or not.

"When a developer comes to the Mississippi Gulf Coast with the capital and the where-with-all to put up a beautiful luxurious project, are we gonna turn him away because of philosophical opposition," attorney Billy Miller asked.

Nearby citizens say their concerns are more than philosophical. They wonder about the impact such tall buildings will have on water supply, traffic, and quality of life.

"I don't think that we, the neighbors, should have to decrease our quality of life so someone can come in and make a buck off the deal. What we're concerned about is the impact this development would have to our family and the families of our surrounding neighbors, quality of life as well as to our property values," says Paul Whaley, whose property backs up to the proposed development.

Another homeowner, Paul Beer says, "It's not a fault finding. It's a protection of what we think is the most significant asset of our little community."

The county supervisors agreed, and voted unanimously to go along with the planning commission's decision not to grant the variance.

Attorney Billy Miller says they'll consider their options before deciding whether to appeal the supervisors' denial to circuit court.