Gulfport Property Owners Get Direction For Rebuilding Homes

It was a day South Mississippians will never forget, August 29, 2005.

The day of Hurricane Katrina.

As we approach the six month anniversary of that devastating storm, residents across the area are anxious to rebuild.

Architects who participated in the Charrette process were back in Gulfport on Sunday, meeting with individual homeowners and answering various rebuilding questions.

Walter and Mary Walton want to rebuild the home Hurricane Katrina destroyed.

The problem has been figuring out the rules about what their new house must look like.

"It's hard to get real solid data," said Walter Walton. "That's kind of what we were hoping to find. Exactly what are the setbacks?. When will we be able to build? Codes?"

Local architect Frank Genzer is part of a team of architects helping to clear up the confusion by letting property owners see their building options on pencil and paper.

"Our intention wasn't to design a specific house for them to take to a contractor, but to give them an idea of what could be rebuilt on their site and what it might possibly look like," said Genzer.

The architects say people who take their advice on how to build their homes will have an advantage.

Laura Hall is a California architect who was on the coast right after Katrina for the Charrettes.

"They can actually get permitted administratively, which means they don't have to go through the public hearing process through the zoning board, planning commission and city council. If they do it exactly as it's designed right now which has been determined by the community, they can cut through that red tape."

After their meeting, the Waltons felt good about the future.

"We're ready to build," said Walter Walton.

Mary Walton said "My fears have been extinguished."

Gulfport city officials say about 75 homeowners signed up for the Residential Architecture Review Day.