The sound of a lone boat cuts across Fort Bayou, breaking up the usual silence that Anne Marie Moreton adores.
"That's what you love to see -- look out your window and see a father and a son, right there fishing," Moreton said.
But if Gulf Coast Investment Developers have their way, this will be the new home of Bay Village: a $90 million mixed-use project combining condos, town homes, and a six-story hotel and shopping center.
Moreton says they are beautiful designs, but don't compare to the current, natural landscape.
"[As of last week] It was 107 condos that are for sale in Ocean Springs right now, and have been on the market for a long time and have not been sold. So there is certainly not a need for more condos in Ocean Springs," Moreton said.
Before the Bay Village project can move forward, the property must be rezoned from single family residential to multi-family residential. The city's planning commission denied Bay Village's request for re-zoning in November with a 4-1 vote, but developers are appealing the decision.
Moreton worries that re-zoning the land could set a dangerous precedent for the future of Ocean Springs.
"Not only will it change the character of our neighborhood, but it will change the character of our whole town," Moreton said.
She says once lost, the serene and quaint environment of Fort Bayou and Ocean Springs can never be re-claimed.
"If they want to go put it somewhere else that is a better location, a larger town, or in Biloxi. It would probably be great in Biloxi, but it's not for Ocean Springs," Moreton said.
Developers with the Bay Village project will appeal the planning commission's decision at the December 18th Board of Alderman meeting.
Mike Boudreaux, with Gulf Coast Investment Developers, told WLOX News, "Our project not only met, but exceeded the planning commission's criteria. I believe that the majority of Ocean Springs would embrace Bay Village if they had an opportunity to learn more about its mixed-use plans."
By Keli Rabon
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