Gas Station Highlights Debate About Highway 90 Development

Condominium projects are getting the go ahead to build along busy Highway 90 in Biloxi. Several are out of the ground, while others promise high class, beautiful development along the beach.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. And I think a lot of times it comes down to who makes the more valid argument about what should and what shouldn't be allowed," said Jerry Creel, Biloxi's Community Development Director.

The company wanting to rebuild the beachfront Shell Station at Veterans Avenue and Highway 90 lost its argument before the planning commission. Opponents say a gas station there doesn't fit with long range plans for a "scenic boulevard."

"I think what you have to do is monitor your development very closely and make sure that you're not making the mistakes to put uses on Highway 90 that encourage vehicular traffic," Creel explained. "If you come right back and put all your gas stations back on Highway 90, what are you doing? You're encouraging vehicular traffic, commercial traffic right back to Highway 90."

Retired General Clark Griffith chaired Biloxi's Reviving the Renaissance committee. He urged the planning commission to reject the gas station project.

"And I've had phone calls and e-mails, and they say, 'Don't you use gasoline?' And I say, 'Sure I use gasoline, but I don't need to go to the beach to get it.'"

Griffith says a deliberate effort is needed to assure the future Highway 90 is something Biloxi can be proud of.

"We've had a lot of comments about billboards, pawn shops and things like that. You just don't put those kinds of things right on your scenic boulevard," he said.

There's still a chance for the Shell Station project. The City Council has not yet considered the plans.