Jackson County

Ocean Springs mayor will propose change to controversial B&B ordinance

Ocean Springs aldermen and Mayor Connie Moran discuss changing the city’s regulation of bed-and-breakfasts Jan. 17. Moran decided not to veto an ordinance that requires 60 percent neighbor approval before a residence can be used as a bed-and-breakfast.
Ocean Springs aldermen and Mayor Connie Moran discuss changing the city’s regulation of bed-and-breakfasts Jan. 17. Moran decided not to veto an ordinance that requires 60 percent neighbor approval before a residence can be used as a bed-and-breakfast. amccoy@sunherald.com File

Mayor Connie Moran said Friday she won’t veto a controversial ordinance that requires 60 percent neighbor approval for a resident to use their home as a bed-and-breakfast business if the Board of Alderman make an amendment to ordinance.

She plans to submit a proposal to the Board of Aldermen at its Tuesday meeting that would “more clearly define which parcels would be included in the 250-foot radius from the applicant’s property line.”

She said she believes most of the ordinance is needed. But she thinks the addition by the board requiring 60 percent neighbor approval is “excessive.”

The aldermen voted 4-3 for the 60 percent approval requirement. The ordinance originally required 50 percent neighbor approval.

“The last-minute vote by the Board of Aldermen to increase the percentage of those not objecting to a B&B from 50 percent to 60 percent, after public hearings and much discussion, appeared to me to be arbitrary and political,” Moran said in an email Thursday. “The planning staff is now reviewing the impact of the public input requirements and can be adjusted in the future if necessary.”

Scott and Trinity Walker, who live on East Beach in Ocean Springs, have been trying to get approval to rent their home as a bed-and-breakfast. Scott Walker told the Sun Herald on March 21 the aldermen’s decision will likely cause B&B owners to open up shop in Biloxi. He has also said he’d sue the city after the aldermen denied his request to turn his home into a bed-and-breakfast.

Moran said Thursday the request from the Walkers is not her concern — she’s worried the proximity of “neighbors” in a 250-foot radius in the current ordinance would not be fair for people living in a dense residential district.

“I still have some real issues with it,” she said. “They can override me if I said no percentage at all. That would not fly.”

She is asking the aldermen to amend the ordinance to stipulate how to define who would be included in that neighbor radius.

“If I find out they won’t accept that (amendment), then I may veto after all,” she said.

Voting for the ordinance were Aldermen Matt McDonnell, Chic Cody, John Gill and Bobby Cox.

Voting against were Aldermen Greg Denyer, Jerry Dalgo and Mike Impey.

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