HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A developer's plan to build condos on the Jourdan River will soon face a new hurdle.
The area is 269 acres of natural South Mississippi beauty, steeped in Hancock County history deeper than the roots of the 100-year-old live oaks that line the river banks.
"This site here is the former Darwood Botanical Gardens, on a smaller scale of Bellingrath Gardens. Darwood was quite popular in the '50s and '60s, and it turned into ruins due to neglect and Hurricane Camille," said Developer Mike Felter.
Part of Felter's plans for the property include bringing life back to the area. Plans call for a mixed-use development to include 76 single family homes, and 135 condo units.
Plans also call for the units to be surrounded by high end amenities such as a tennis court, a yacht club, a yacht basin for boat parking and a restored botanical garden.
Felter noted, "Less dense, and maybe a little more acceptable to the neighbors and the county."
However, there been controversy regarding an access road for the proposed river front development. Neighborhood opposition, and several court battles, have resulted in the State Supreme Court making final decisions for the project not once, but twice.
The court's latest ruling disagreed with opponents who say the end of Nicola Rd. is a private roadway, and too narrow to support additional traffic. However, it's an issue that remains a major concern to nearby residents.
"The increased traffic pollution in the river, they plan to have a harbor.....a yacht complex," said resident Susan Kelleher. "That will add more pollution and traffic in the river which is very narrow and we have traffic problems already."
The project will go before the Hancock County Board of Supervisors for a site approval appeals hearing on May 16 at the county government annex building on Hwy. 90.