More Back Bay Property Linked To Biloxi Casino Plans

Another 12 Biloxi property owners are trying to cash in on Mississippi's on shore gaming law. On Thursday, they asked the Biloxi Planning Commission to rezone their back bay lots. The waterfront request on north end of Braun Street and Dacey Street is another example of how the character of east Biloxi is changing.

Long time Biloxians remember when shrimp boats were a reflection of the city's vibrant back bay. But ever since casinos docked on the coast, the value of Biloxi's seafood properties has changed. Processing plants have disappeared. Many of them have been purchased by casino developers.

Mike Cavanaugh is an attorney representing the Bayview Gaming group.

"It's obvious the character of the neighborhood has changed," he told the planning commission.

Shrimp docks, processing plants and several inland properties across Bayview Avenue became even more valuable to casino developers after Hurricane Katrina, when land based gambling within 800 feet of the shoreline became legal.

"It tells me just what we thought all along," Biloxi Community Development Director Jerry Creel said, "that east Biloxi over the next several years is going to become a resort destination."

On Creel's desk was a map of east Biloxi. The community development director pointed out the pink and green areas along the city's perimeter. They showed the waterfront zoning locations where casinos could be built.

Creel said casino sites dotted the rim of the city's peninsula "because waterfront zoning offers the highest and best use of that piece of property."

Because of the change in their back bay neighborhood, a dozen homeowners on Braun Street and Dacey Street requested a waterfront zoning change from the Biloxi Planning Commission. They'd like to sell their four acres to the Bayview Gaming group for a future casino project.

"This is just another step along the way of the redevelopment of Bayview Avenue," said Cavanaugh.

The attorney for the Bayview Gaming group said the zoning change would help developers secure financing for their project. A timetable to build a casino resort at the old Golden Gulf plant, and on land that once housed a moving and storage warehouse has not been determined.