Public Hearing To Be Held July 12 On RV Park & Marina In Gautier

The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources will be holding a public hearing in Gautier on July 12 at 6 p.m. at the Gautier Convention Center, located at 2012 Library Lane, on regulated activities associated with the construction of an RV park and marina. The proposed project would be located on Martin Bluff Road and Roy's Road in Gautier, Jackson County.

The applicant, Anderson-Wells, LLC, is proposing to fill 0.93 acre of low-quality non-tidal wetlands to support construction of an RV park and marina. The applicant is also requesting a coastal wetlands use plan change from a General Use District to a Commercial Fishing and Recreational Marinas District.

The proposal for the marina includes maintenance dredging of existing man-made canals 4,500 feet in length and 20 feet in width. These canals have current depths of 3 to 6 feet below mean low water and will have a proposed final depth of 6 feet below mean low water, with approximately 5,000 cubic yards of material to be removed. Dredge material will be used for on-site fill in upland or authorized wetland locations only.

The marina plan includes 112 boat slips, each accommodating a vessel up to 30 feet in length; two boat ramps that are already in existence; ship stores; fuel and ice sales; a restaurant; and a marine pump-out station that will connect to the existing wastewater collection system of the City of Gautier.

Proposed structures include 91 finger piers 25 feet in length and 3 feet in width (6,825 square feet), and a bulkhead 2,450 feet in length. The applicant is also proposing construction of a bridge consisting of a single draw span 80 feet in length and 20 feet in width, which will span one of the existing man-made canals and provide direct access to the marina through the RV park.

A small area of emergent vegetation ( Sagittaria spp.) is located within the footprint of the proposed marina, therefore the applicant has requested a variance to Chapter VIII, Section 2, Part III.C.3 of the Mississippi Coastal Program which states, "Marinas . . . shall not be located in areas containing submerged or regularly flooded emergent vegetation."

The applicant has justified the variance request by stating that the impacts on coastal wetlands would be no worse than if the guidelines were followed, the activity requires a waterfront location, there is a significant public benefit in the activity, and a public hearing will be held.

Any person wishing to make comments or objections to the proposed regulated activity must submit those comments during the public hearing or in writing to the Department of Marine Resources at 1141 Bayview Avenue, Biloxi, Mississippi 39530 before 5 p.m. on the following day July 13, 2006.

For more information about the project, call the DMR's Bureau of Wetland Permitting at (228) 374-5000.