Orange Grove residents erupted in applause after hearing the planning commission's decision to deny a recommendation for two tax credit developments. The first development would sit south of Creekwood North Apartments. It's at the intersection of Depew and O'Neal Road. The second development would sit southeast of O'Neal and Red Fox Drive, next to Flat Branch Creek.
After the meeting, residents had more questions for one of the developers, Bill Brockman. His development, off O'Neal and Red Fox Drive, is a three phase project. It includes one tax credit property that would house elderly residents in a 40 unit duplex.
"We've done our best to explain it. We felt that we could actually help conditions in the area," says Bill Brockman, Sunquest Properties, President.
"I don't think this development is going to be positive for our neighbors or the homeowners in this area. I think we're dealing with some major issues like wetlands, and I don't think that can be resolved," says Marie Cuccio, Orange Grove Resident.
One of the major issues is flooding, a problem residents say they're already battling. An engineer working with Brockman explained how plans for development included creating three retention ponds and making larger draining ditches to prevent flooding in the neighborhood.
"It impacts their lives. It impacts their homes, and they've got a natural concern for what they're doing, but we hope to be good neighbors in the end," says Brockman.
Although there was no exchange of harsh words after the meeting, both residents and the developer say it's an issue they plan to see through to the very end.
"I think we're going to fight it all the way," says Cuccio.
"We will see each other again so this is not over," says Melissa Braun, Orange Grove Resident.
"I've talked to the residents in the area and perhaps they'll be further conversation, but I believe our next course of action will be to go before the city council itself and appeal this decision," says Brockman.
Residents say another major issue is the possible increase in traffic in an area they say already has a lot of traffic. The attorney for the Franklin Point property, the other tax credit development, says his client also plans to appeal the commission's decision to Gulfport city council.