Biloxi Has A Plan To Control Future Growth

The Trebotichs have lived on First Street since 1954. Now a marketing survey says their home is considered a prime spot for a new hotel development across from Casino Row. Despite 48 years of memories, Steve Trebotich and his wife said they would sell, for the right price.

If developers ever move forward with the project, they may have to contend with stricter Biloxi building guidelines.

Biloxi planning director Ed Shambra spent the last two years putting together a comprehensive land development ordinance. He's ready to present it to the Biloxi Planning Commission. "We've been very pleased with most of what we've accomplished so far," Shambra said.

Shambra said the land development proposal would make it easier for Biloxi's five planning committees to work as a team when they analyze new projects.

One thing Biloxi has never had before is a height restriction in its waterfront zoning district. That's why casino resorts are as tall as they are. That would change with the new land development proposal. It limits waterfront building heights to no more than 80 feet.

"It isn't a hard and fast rule," said Shambra. "Obviously it's something that in any particular project we could look at specific variances, too. But it's at least something that would be uniform throughout that district."

Casino attorney Michael Cavanaugh said the 80 foot height limit could scare away casino developers. He said, "It isn't feasible because even though I do believe the city and the planning commission would be reasonable in the granting of a variance, that is just one extra step that you shouldn't have to take to do any development."

Cavanaugh felt the waterfront height limit should be between 120 and 140 feet. He said that would give casinos enough room to build resorts in Biloxi's waterfront zoning district.

On July 11th, the Biloxi Planning Commission is expected to adopt the comprehensive land development plan. It will then be sent to the Biloxi City Council for its approval.