Harrison County

Biloxi council opens door for huge Woolmarket development

The Biloxi Council on Tuesday approved a zoning change that would allow the proposed Belle La Vie development to be built in Woolmarket.
The Biloxi Council on Tuesday approved a zoning change that would allow the proposed Belle La Vie development to be built in Woolmarket.

The City Council on Tuesday approved zoning changes for a development in Woolmarket that, when built out over a decade or more, would have a population the size of D’Iberville or Long Beach.

The council voted 5-2 to change the zoning of 626 acres from agricultural to six classifications that would allow single- and multi-family housing, businesses, an RV park and an assisted living community. Councilmen David Fayard and George Lawrence opposed it.

“I’m very pleased with the decision,” developer Phil Frisby said. “We’re ready to get to work on the next facet.”

For Woolmarket residents whose acres border the site, Tuesday’s vote was a letdown. Two weeks earlier, they’d applauded when the council tabled the vote on the zoning change.

Jennifer McRight said the neighbors have been fighting Pitcher Point Investment’s plans in Woolmarket since 2011. She appealed the zoning change for the developer’s Hidden Springs community, which the council approved in 2011, and lost that appeal.

Asked immediately after the vote if she would appeal again, McRight replied, “No, I don’t think so.”

She does plan to keep up with the development at every step, she said.

Councilman Paul Tisdale said the issue is as much about change in Woolmarket as it is about zoning.

Those who objected to the development said it would create a need for a new school and new roads. The area is growing so quickly, Tisdale said, the only question about construction of a school and roads is when.

He said he is embarrassed residents of Woolmarket still don’t have city sewer and water.

“It’s costly to provide utilities when housing is so spread out,” he said.

The zoning change will allow the developer to hire an engineer and move ahead with a preliminary plat, said Community Development Director Jerry Creel, but the City Council will have to approve drainage and other plans for every step.

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