Biloxi Blocks B&B Weddings, Parties - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/19/05

Biloxi Blocks B&B Weddings, Parties

Eight years ago, the Green Oaks Bed and Breakfast opened. And it quickly got national recognition for the weddings it hosted under a canopy of oak trees on the 180 year old property.

Brides loved the waterfront location.

East Biloxi neighbors hated the noise. They complained, and the city listened. On Tuesday, the city again said no to B&B parties in residential neighborhoods.

Historic Green Oaks is nestled behind several moss draped oaks on Highway 90. It's right next to several homes.  Mark Aldrich loves its location.

"It's a beautiful asset to Biloxi," the bed and breakfast general manager said.

Aldrich answers 30 calls a day from people who'd like to use his bed and breakfast grounds.

"You have to give people what they want," he said. "They want to be able to have events here."

Don't forget, when Jennifer Diaz owned Green Oaks, she hosted weddings and parties, and got plenty of positive national attention. But neighbors complained because the property wasn't zoned for outdoor events.

Biloxi's recently adopted land development ordinance now bans parties at Green Oaks. That puzzles the new B&B general manager.

"It's almost magical here. And that's why people want to get married here and have events," said Aldrich. "I just can't give up."

Aldrich took his bed and breakfast fight to Biloxi City Hall, hoping he could convince the council to reword its ordinance, and adopt strict guidelines that permit B&B events until 9:00 p.m. The council unanimously said no.

Yet Aldrich believes a compromise can be found that will open his B&B to parties, and still satisfy neighbors, who don't want the noise the accompanied previous parties.

"We have to give them what they need," Aldrich said, referring to his potential guests. "So I won't give up on the public."

by Brad Kessie

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