Biloxi Council Discusses Cottage Guidelines

By Toni Miles - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There are currently 200 Mississippi cottages in Biloxi. At the meeting, council members met with Keith Campbell, the program manager for Mississippi's Alternative Housing Program. They talked in detail about guidelines for allowing some cottages to become permanent fixtures in some parts of the city.

"What we're suggesting is in RS-5, which is mostly East Biloxi, that those cottages be allowed in those areas, that they not be placed any higher than six feet, and that they be a conditional use so that the council can look at them on a case-by-case basis. They also would be permitted in areas where mobile homes are already permitted," said Ward 2 Councilman Bill Stallworth.

Campbell told the council the state would use federal grant money to lay the groundwork for the cottages.

"The state is willing to pay for the foundation and have the structure placed on that foundation at no charge to the individuals," Stallworth said.

Councilman Stallworth said passing this measure is critical as FEMA's March 2009 deadline draws closer.

"It comes closer every month. At the end of that time, they're looking to have all the FEMA cottages gone, all the rental assistance gone, and all the Mississippi cottages gone. So that could be thousands of people that could be made homeless, and we're really just trying to get the council to help as many people as they possibly can," Stallworth said.

The council is set to vote on the measure at next Tuesday's meeting.

At least one council member raised concerns that allowing the cottages to become permanent fixtures would open the door for new trailer parks throughout the city. Councilman Stallworth said the cottages will be allowed only in areas where mobile homes already exist and where zoning allows.