Ocean Springs Residents Comment On Proposed Comprehensive Plan

The City of Ocean Springs unveiled its 20 year Comprehensive Plan to the public Tuesday night. City officials say growth is inevitable in the city, so the plan will serve as a guide as to how the city should grow in the future.

A consultant hired by the city explained the goals of the plan, and showed how the city could grow, without destroying the unique ambiance of Ocean Springs. The proposal includes goals for land use, transportation, public facilities and quality of life.  It also mentions that annexation is an option for growth, but says another way the city can grow is to work with existing businesses.

About 20 residents and city leaders showed up for the public hearing at City Hall.  Most residents say they like the plan, because it balances development with preservation. The draft emphasizes smart growth, while promoting the environment. But the residents say the only way the plan would work, is if it's enforced.

Ocean Springs Resident Becky Gillette says one of the things that struck her about the plan was reading the Comprehensive Plan of 1965.  She says the growth plan passed back then had many of the same recommendations, but they haven't been followed.  Gillette says if the ideas had been followed, Ocean Springs would be a much nicer place to live.

Emily Sulver of Ocean Springs also thinks it's a good plan, if it is actually followed.  Sulver says she wants the plan to identify areas that are considered wetlands and flood plains and to make sure that those areas are protected.

After the public hearing, the city planning commission approved the Comprehensive Plan. The commission will send its recommendation to the Board of Aldermen for final approval.

By:  Trang Pham-Bui