Biloxi Trims Condo, But It Will Still Tower Over The City - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi Trims Condo, But It Will Still Tower Over The City

George Lawrence was one of two councilmen who suggested a public hearing be held at a later date to settle Biloxi's height variance debate.

"I mean, when you're talking about a 20 story variance, that's abusive," he said during a sometimes spirited city council meeting. 

However, at the council table, Lawrence and David Fayard were in the minority.

"When the government fears the voice of the people, it's time for the people to fear their government," Fayard said.

Council president Tom Wall says there no reason to fear this group of elected leaders. And there's no reason to think a tall condo will ruin west Biloxi.

"The people of Biloxi are what makes this a place to live. And the people haven't changed. And a taller building won't change them," said Wall.

The height issue in this case was whether the Tower at Edgewater could be built 198 feet higher than Biloxi's height ordinance allows. Lawrence argued that the council should abide by its land development ordinance.

"We're supposed to have plans," he said. "We're supposed to have a way to follow it. But we're not following anything right now."

Councilman Wall was just as succinct in his support of the height variance request.

"Our history isn't damaged by height," he said.

The location of the Tower at Edgewater is between Edgewater Village, and the 22 story Beau View condo. To help the project blend in with Beau View, councilman Bill Stallworth offered a compromise.

"I would like to ask that an amendment be approved that would basically take this development down by four floors," he told the council.

The amendment passed by a 4-3 vote. The Tower at Edgewater has the Biloxi City Council's permission to be 29 floors, instead of 33. It's getting a 150 foot variance instead of 198 feet.

Mike Boudreaux represents the developer.

"We think we can make it work," he said. "We're willing to make it try."

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway was in Jackson Tuesday. So he didn't attend the city council meeting. He has until the end of the month to either sign or veto the Tower at Edgewater height variance. If he vetos it, five councilmen must vote to override that veto. Remember, just four Biloxi council members approved the 29 story tower.

By Brad Kessie

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