OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - A proposal to renovate the historic Gulf Hills Hotel and surrounding property comes with a catch: a luxury RV park on site.
After residents voiced their concerns about the proposal on Thursday night, many were relieved to hear the developer say he doesn’t plan to go through with the deal.
Many residents in the Gulf Hills community agree that the hotel and golf course, which once hosted the likes of Elvis Presley, has seen better days. They believe renovations are needed, but not at the expense of their quality of life.
“I’m just not interested in taking on the challenges of an opposing community,” said developer Walter Reinhaus to a packed room at Gulf Hills Hotel.
Reinhaus proposed to buy the property and build a luxury motorcoach resort near the waterfront area.
Hotel manager Donna Brown says Reinhaus is the first to come forward with a complete plan to buy the hotel in nearly 20 years.
His plans include bringing back the old marina behind the hotel, refreshing the gardens, installing a boardwalk and more. However, residents say the sore spot was the RV resort.
Several expressed their opposition to bringing RVs into the neighborhood. Residents argued that such a move would decrease their home value drastically. Some also believe the roads in Gulf Hills are not built to bear constant heavy weight traffic.
Reinhaus said he plans to explain his experience to the Jackson County Planning Commission during their next meeting on June 19.
“I’ve never worked in a community where there has been community opposition to what I was proposing and I don’t believe I can absorb the capacity to confront that," said Reinhaus. “I simply wouldn’t want to work in that context."
Reinhaus stated that he will attend the planning commission meeting because he already committed to doing so. Residents from Gulf Hills have confirmed that they will also be there to make sure Reinhaus stays true to his word.