Harrison County

‘A city within a city’ gets first approval in Woolmarket

Biloxi City Hall
Biloxi City Hall ttisbell@sunherald.com File

Zoning for a housing community in Woolmarket so large it will be built in 22 phases got the recommendation of the Biloxi Planning Commission on Thursday.

Belle la Vie has been proposed for years on 626 acres off Old Woolmarket Road, Wash Fayard Road and Lorraine Road.

The commission voted 8-1-1 in favor of the rezoning to allow single- and multi-family housing, a commercial area with businesses to serve the residents and a continuing-care retirement community.

Kay Bankston voted against the rezoning and Joann Humphries abstained.

Pitcher Point Development and the Frisby family envision that when the project is complete in the next 10 years or so, it will be home to 12,000 to 14,000 residents.

“It’s literally a city within a city,” said Wayne Hengen, attorney for the developers.

He said 4,773 homes in Biloxi were lost in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and people want to rebuild north of Interstate 10, which is away from the water.

More than two dozen Woolmarket residents said they are concerned about traffic, drainage and flooding with the new development and the new school that will have to be built. They presented a petition opposing the rezoning and said they moved to Woolmarket to get away from the hustle and bustle of Biloxi.

The rezoning request now goes to the City Council for a vote.

In other action, the city withdrew a request to rezone an area adjacent to Margaritaville Resort Biloxi for family entertainment.

Attorney Gerald Blessey told the planners the developer of Margaritaville Biloxi and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann are close to working out an agreement for Tidelands leases in that area.