Woolmarket residents packed City Hall on Tuesday night, holding signs and telling the City Council they don’t want a “city in a city” in their big backyards.
At the end of almost three hours of discussion, the council voted 4-3 to table the zoning change for 626 acres. Pitcher Point Development requested the zoning change to build a mixed-use development with housing, an assisted-living center and a business area.
Voting to table were , George Lawrence, Dixie Newman, Robert Deming III and David Fayard, who represents Woolmarket.
Fayard suggested the zoning request sit on the table until the developers complete 50 percent of Hidden Springs, to “see what we’re getting for our money.” Hidden Springs is the first section of the huge Belle La Vie development and the residents said six years after it was approved, no houses have been built there yet.
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But the council tabled the zoning change subject to call, which means it can come up at the next meeting.
“We’re just slowing this down,” Councilman Kenny Glavan said as the residents’ applause died down. “Any council person can bring it up at any time.”
Wayne Hengen, attorney for the developer, said the delay in construction for Hidden Springs is because the city’s approval was appealed, and because of weather. The infrastructure is in and construction will begin this year, he said.
Pitcher Point bought 1,478 acres and has already invested $12 million in the project, Hengen said. He called the plans a “city in a city” and said Belle La Vie will provide “organized, protected growth” for Biloxi.
Neighboring residents whose homes are on 3-acre or larger parcels said they are concerned the owners will get the zoning change and flip the property. They also worry about flooding, traffic, overcrowded schools and the stress on water resources.
When construction is complete in 22 phases, which the developers say is a 10- to 15-year project, the 5,000 homes and 10,000 to 12,000 residents will make Belle La Vie the size of D’Iberville, they said.