Biloxi Council Considering Permanent Cottages

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Mississippi cottages were designed as an alternative to FEMA trailers. But the Biloxi City Council is being asked to allow the structures to remain long term.

"To consider the idea of allowing their citizens to purchase the cottages so that they can remain in place," said Keith Campbell, who oversees the Mississippi Alternative Housing Program.

He told council members the cottages are every bit as sturdy as more traditional homes.

"It has two by six construction in the exterior walls. This is in excess of what you would find in most stick built homes," said Campbell.

Councilman Bill Stallworth says the cottages are a good fit for East Biloxi.

"It looks just like the same little houses we can drive up and down every street and see. Properly landscaped, it blends very well, particularly in the area of East Biloxi," says Stallworth.

"You know, I don't know exactly how the council is going to vote on the thing. But I can speculate that we can approve this thing with some standards and some conditions," said Ward 5 councilman Tom Wall.

The council member who represents most of Point Cadet raised concerns about cost and insurance.

"Are they going to be able to maintain the house, maintain the property, fight the height, fight the insurance? And if they add on to it, it will cost more money. You're not accomplishing a whole lot here helping these people," said George Lawrence, who represents Ward 1.

Mary Rose Leahy lives in a cottage on First Street at Point Cadet. She had the last word at the workshop and urged council members to give serious consideration to the idea of allowing the cottages to become permanent residences.

"I just think there needs to be more public input. There needs to be more consideration. More research needs to be done, 'cause we really do need these," said Leahy.

Since Tuesday's meeting was only a workshop, the Biloxi council took no action.

MEMA's Keith Campbell was asked how much the cottages might cost for home owners who'd like to buy them. He said no set price has been determined, but it would likely be based on the buyer's income.