Ocean Springs Puts Subdivision Development On Hold

Houses and neighborhoods are going up all over Ocean Springs. But that could soon change. City leaders say they won't approve any new development plans until new guidelines can be written to address problem areas.

"We want to protect the city's interest whenever a new development comes about," Ocean Springs Mayor Seren Ainsworth said.

Right now, the city is doing a lot of repair work on drainage systems and roadways in neighborhoods less than three years old. Developers of these neighborhoods are not responsible for the problems after a two-year warranty period.

"A lot of this work is related to subdivisions just coming out of their warranty period or have been out for a year," City Planner Donovan Scruggs said.

"We have experienced some problems in the past and what we are trying to do is eliminate some of that," Mayor Ainsworth adds.

During this moratorium city leaders want to rewrite current building codes to make future developers more responsible, possibly by extending the current warranty period and making developers pay fees for repairs.

"What it does is help protect the existing property owners from being impacted by the new development," Mayor Ainsworth said. "We are not talking about a total rewrite right now. What we want to do is make the minor changes that can get us to where we aren't spending all of the tax payers money maintaining these problems."

Any changes the city makes to building requirements will not affect neighborhoods already under construction, only developments okayed after the new rules are in place.

Mayor Ainsworth said the board's decision comes at a good time. The city is currently working on a new 20-year growth plan, in which many of these same issues needed to be addressed.