Slow down and make an informed decision on Margaritaville zoning

Slow down.

That's our advice to the city of Biloxi and the Secretary of State's Office in a zoning case over the proposed site of an amusement park near Margaritaville Resort.

There is too much conflicting information for the city to make an informed decision on whether to change the zoning for some waterfront land from neighborhood business and waterfront district to community business.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann on Wednesday assured the Sun Herald he is not resisting the zoning change in order to make the site available for a casino development. He said he is negotiating a tidelands lease with Barrington Development, which wants to develop the park, that would give the taxpayers the best return. He said he in no way opposes the development of a family oriented park.

We believe him.

The city, according to a letter from Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich, seems to think Hosemann is trying to pitch a casino development. Hosemann said he is negotiating only with the Margaritaville developers, which he said didn't request the zoning change.

And Hosemann said height restrictions in the community business zoning would hinder, not help, the development, and would put him at a disadvantage in those negotiations.

We see no reason to hurry to rezone those parcels of land that would be part of that development. First, the city and Hosemann need to meet and make a good faith effort to resolve their differences over this prime piece of land, which is tidelands owned by the taxpayers.

Then, both sides should, together, let those taxpayers know exactly what is going on.

We're very much in favor of the Margaritaville expansion and we don't want to see misconceptions derail a family attraction the Coast desperately needs.

The editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions of columnists and cartoonists are their own.