D'Iberville May Rezone Neighborhood For Casinos - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

D'Iberville May Rezone Neighborhood For Casinos

Brenda Lovelace sat under a newly built porch. Behind her was the slab where the home she lived in for 15 years once stood.  Everyday, she asks herself the same question.  Should she rebuild?  Her answer is always the same. 

"We feel like we're right on the edge," the D'Iberville woman said.  

What she can't figure out is whether that edge will take her down a slippery slope, or if it will lead her to prosperity. 

Lovelace knows a pile of sand in her yard has to form the foundation of her granddaughter's new swimming pool. It blew apart during Katrina.  And Lovelace wants it back up, so the child has a cool place to play. 

She doesn't know if the family should replace the rest of the hurricane damaged house.

"There are days we can hardly stand it," she admitted. "But then there are days we wake up with hope." '

Hope in this instance is spelled C-A-S-I-N-O, because casinos may have an interest in developing land east of the I-110 bridge. That's where Lovelace lives.

"I'd love for them to come in and I'd love to visit. But I don't want to be in walking distance," she said.

Lovelace was one of 42 D'Iberville property owners who signed a petition. They all live on or near Race Track Road. And they all want the north side of Race Track rezoned, so casinos can take advantage of Mississippi's new inland gaming rule, and the residents can move out.

Richard Rose is D'Iberville's City Manager.

"We're trying to take a methodical approach to this," he said.

The city must figure out which properties are within 800 feet of the back bay's mean high tide. That's the distance state law allows on shore casinos to operate. Once that's done, the city's planning staff has to determine whether a zoning change from residential to waterfront is justified.

"I think it will. I think absolutely it will," Rose said.

If that's the case, Lovelace and her neighbors won't be looking at Race Track Road's hurricane debris for much longer.

"It's sad in a way because like she said we had a very good neighborhood," she said. "But that's progress and that's a good thing."

If the city okays that progress, Lovelace and her neighbors will put down their shovels, pack up their suitcases, and leave D'Iberville's battered shoreline, as long as the move is on the casinos' tab. 

"We can move if we have to," said Lovelace, but, "We would like to have the money to relocate."

The D'Iberville Planning Commission is supposed to make a recommendation about the Race Track Road zoning change in September or October.

by Brad Kessie

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