Controversial development packs the house at Gautier city council meeting

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Sandra and Fred Harrison have lived a quiet life on Ferry Point road in Gautier for over ten years.

"It's so quiet and peaceful the deer come every night, and they graze every morning," says Sandra Harrison.

But plans for a new subdivision surrounding their land could change their lives forever.  Trinity Development owns just over fifteen acres of land, and plans to build a 30 home subdivision called Cypress Landing.  The people already living there don't welcome the change.  All of the homes in this neighborhood are on at least two acres of land, with many of them boasting over ten acres.  Cypress Landing would have a much more dense population.

"It's too many houses on too few of acres," said Sandra Harrison.

Many people worry about the traffic that would be generated by such a subdivision.

"Our kids can play in the streets, they can ride their bicycles back and forth," said Kenny Lett who lives nearby.  He said he used his life savings to buy a house there, just for the safe and peaceful atmosphere of the road.  Lett fears that a subdivision like Cypress Landing would change the character of the neighborhood.

More importantly, residents are worried the value of their homes could decrease.  Fred Harrison says he will lose thousands of dollars in property value if the subdivision goes up around his home.

But other Gautier residents don't share that view.

"They seem to think that the people that are gonna own sixteen hundred plus square foot are gonna bring the slums to their neighborhood," said south Gautier resident Mickey Spanier.  "That's an insult to every citizen in Gautier."

Spanier also believes the new subdivision comes at a time when Gautier needs new developments.

"It's progress for Gautier," she said.  "It's something we need in Gautier.  We need more housing."

The project was rejected by the city Planning Commission, but Trinity went to the City Council with an appeal.  The appeal was granted Tuesday night, on the grounds that the proposed subdivision would not break any zoning laws.

Don't expect any real changes soon.

"We'll go to court," said Sandra Harrison.  "We don't have any choice."

The Harrison's and other neighbors are paying legal fees together to fight the development.  Trinity Development declined to comment on their plans, or the controversy surrounding them.