GULFPORT -- In a split decision Thursday evening, the city Planning Commission approved the development of FunTime USA amusement park.
The commission voted 7-2 for approval after hearing from both supporters and opponents of the development, which will take up about 7 acres on the northeast corner of Cowan Road and U.S. 90.
FunTime's owners initially planned to begin construction in January but zoning challenges delayed the start.
A small group of residents of Georgia Place, just north of the development site, have opposed the park's development, fearing it will devalue their properties and bring noise, traffic and litter to their neighborhood.
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Unless the residents file an appeal, construction is slated to begin as early as June and will take three to four months, FunTime owner Rafe O'Neal said.
O'Neal already is preparing to defend an appeal and believes the ultimate decision will be in his favor.
"I just think that the law is on our side with this one," he said.