Appearance Matters With Ocean Springs Buildings - - The News for South Mississippi

Appearance Matters With Ocean Springs Buildings

Ocean Springs has a reputation as a charming, artistic town - a place that cares about appearance.

"To Ocean Springs, it's very important," said business owner Larry Dryden, "We're a small town and we have that ambiance and we want to keep it that way."

Dryden says something as simple as flowers and green space can send a message of hospitality.

"I get a lot of compliments. A lot of people coming in because it looks welcoming, that type of thing," said the downtown florist.

A new design-review ordinance reaches beyond flower beds. It requires builders to achieve a minimum score on a variety of appearance categories.

Donovan Scruggs is the city planning director.

"It does look a lot at the facade of the building and the overall architectural design. This would include the roof and its formation, along with the elements on the side of the building, whether it be brick or a hardy plank material. Or metal in general," he explained.

"It's a good catch all ordinance. And we need it in place now because of the surge of new construction on Highway 90 in Ocean Springs. We just want it aesthetically pleasing," said alderman John Gill.

"The Oaks" is among the newest and some people would say, most attractive shopping centers along Highway 90 in Ocean Springs. But you might be surprised to learn that development would fall just short of the score required under the new ordinance.

Scruggs says the center could have made the grade by adding some decorative touches in the back and allowing a bit more green space.

The Southern Heart Center is among several existing buildings that would meet the new requirements.

"There's a lot of things in there to try and encourage the developers to think outside the box and come in with something that really does have some architectural noteworthiness," said Scruggs.

Matt McDonald was among two aldermen who voted against the new ordinance. McDonald told WLOX News he was concerned about the requirements, especially since a development like "The Oaks" would have failed to meet the standards.

By Steve Phillips

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