Rail Crossings and Belle La Vie: Now What? More Biloxi News

From:  City of Biloxi     3/24/17   GCN

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday made decisions on a couple of key issues: the consolidation of six of the city's 29 rail crossings and the green light for rezoning of more than 600 acres for a planned community in the northern-most part of the city.

So what's next?
 
The next steps on the rail crossings

Now that the City Council has given the approval for the city to begin the process of closing six rail crossings, it's going to be at least a year before residents and motorist actually see crossings any changes.
That's because identifying the rail crossings was the first step. Now, the Gilich administration has a commitment from the council to begin negotiations with CSX on seeking funding to help build or improve roads, where needed, to connect closed crossings to adjoining crossings.

No crossings would be closed until the connecting roads were in place, to avoid creating any dead-end streets and to minimize inconvenience to motorists.

Read CAO Mike Leonard's remarks on the issue 
See photos from the council meeting on the issue
 
The next steps on Belle La Vie

The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday approved zoning to allow a 625-acre, mixed use master plan development at the northern end of the city, a proposal that will include commercial development, multi-family residential units, and single family residential homes.

Additionally, about 60 acres of the development are set aside for a proposed certified retirement community containing a number of medical facilities. The number of single family homes has not been determined, but will be as the engineering progresses.

The project engineers will have to design the buildable lots around the existing wetlands on the property.
The conceptual plan has been designed with transitional zoning districts, meaning that the more intensive uses (commercial) are to the interior of the project, and then step down to the multi-family districts, and ultimately steps down to the single family residential on the outskirts of the property.

Said Community Development Director Jerry Creel: "The action taken by the City Council was to only approve the zoning change. This approval gives the developer the reassurance needed to hire the project engineers who will begin putting together the preliminary plat for some, or all, of the phases.

"The preliminary plat will take several months to design, and the preliminary plat, which outlines lot sizes and so forth, will have to go before the city's Development Review Committee, a public hearing before the Planning Commission, and the City Council. No site work can take place until the approval of the preliminary plat by the City Council. So we are several months away from seeing any work on this site."

See the Belle La Vie resolution, with detailed information 
See  map of the Belle La Vie phases 
See photos from council meeting on this issue
 
Belle La Vie and Woolmarket: An examination of the issues

Councilmember Paul Tisdale, who makes a habit of attending a host of city staff meetings, as well as Planning Commission and Development Review Committee meetings, delivered a detailed review of the many issues that have been discussed in the Belle La Vie proposal.

Among the issues: increased population, increased traffic, drainage concerns and what the project could mean to the future of the Woolmarket area.

Read Tisdale's detailed analysis