Proposed district creates two-way conversation about developments around Seabee base

Proposed district creates two-way conversation about developments around Seabee base

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The city of Gulfport wants to develop a better conversation when it comes to future development around the Naval Construction Battalion Center.

To do that, it wants to create what is called a Military Influence Overlay District.

The joint land-use study for this district started in 2017 and was paid for by the Department of Defense.

Loren Gordon has had his mechanical business on 28th Street for about four years, and as a veteran, he’s developed a good business and personal relationship with personnel at the Naval Construction Battalion Center.

“Quite a few of the guys and the ladies come over and get mechanical work,” he said. “They come get their tires, and lot times they’ll just come over and we’ll chat a while, but we have a real good relationship.”

He’s good with anything to make that relationship better.

“Whatever it is, hey, I’m a supporter. As long as it’s not going to hurt me or my business, I’m all for it," Gordon said.

This long-term study showed that Gordon wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

“What we found was, first of all, the residents that surround the base both Gulfport and Long Beach didn’t have issues with the base,” said Greg Pietrangelo, the city’s director of urban development.

That gave Pietrangelo confidence that this new process will work.

He said that the concept has already been tested when a cell phone company wanted to put a new tower in the area.

“So, we contacted the base to make sure that the frequency spectrums that the tower emitted didn’t conflict with any of the frequency spectrums that the Seabee Base used,” he said. “Fortunately, it didn’t. But had we not been talking about this, the city would have permitted that and not even thought twice about how it could affect the base.”

The district area spreads a quarter of a mile from the base property line.

Pietrangelo said it won’t add any more bureaucratic responsibilities.

“Most of the time, the developer - citizen that’s coming in - will never even realize that this process happened. It’s a checklist now. It’s one of the checklists that we’ll go through. We’ll say, ‘OK, how does this affect the base?’ We may not have asked that question of ourselves before," he said.

The proposal will be discussed at the city’s planning commission meeting Sept. 19 and, if approved, could possibly be on the city council agenda by late October.

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