Judge Rules Amendment As Invalid - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/26/05

Judge Rules Amendment As Invalid

Earlier this year, the mayor of Long Beach, along with the Board of Aldermen, approved an amendment that limited high-rise developments to be located on or near Highway 90.

Charles Boggs, who has since been elected as an alderman, took issue to that.

"On January 20th was the first we heard, that high-rise condominiums were going to be limited to the north margins of highway 90, and that is in violation of both the ordinance and the state law," said Boggs.

Boggs says the amendment was not fairly debated, meaning it did not include the input from Long Beach residents.

On Thursday afternoon, Judge Stephen Simpson agreed.

He wrote "without notice and debate, the addition of the language limiting the ordinance's application to Highway 90 parcels was arbitrary and capricious."

"I was disappointed because a lot of effort had been put into the 502.It was done really in the best interest of the city because that's the only street, roadway, that can handle that type of density, you know, with the development, and that's really why it was done that way," said Long Beach mayor Billie Skellie.

"Well, if that's the case the proper way to do it would be to have a high-rise high density zone," said Boggs.

Newly-elected alderman Richard Burton agrees.

When the city passed the amendment, Burton was a member of the Long Beach Civic Association-a group that vocally advocates what it calls "smart growth".

"What we should have done is what was recommended early on, by many people. We should have created condominium districts, special zones that we would plan to have condos in. We would make sure in that respect that we would not encroach on existing neighborhoods, that their density and height were appropriate for neighborhoods that they're close to. And that was not done," said Burton.

Mayor Skellie says he is not sure whether the city will just stick with the old ordinance, which allows "high density" developments in residential and commercial zones, or if new amendments to the ordinance will be proposed.

By Karla Redditte

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