Homeowners in East Gulfport in the following neighborhoods have mobilized and are working together to Protect their Neighborhoods from proposed developments that will negatively affect their safety, health, and welfare: Beach Drive (2.2 miles of the service road along Hwy. 90), Venetian Gardens, Mockingbird Lane, Southern Circle, Allen Drive, College Park, and Greenview. The two developments threatening the exiting neighbors are the Arbor Sites LLC development on the former Great Southern Golf course (North and South of the Railroad tracks) and the Elliott Homes LLC development on the William Carey University property on Beach Drive.
1. Excessive Density: Adjacent property owners have an immediate and direct adverse impact of these “stacked houses.” At least 250 houses are proposed that must use Beach Drive, and up to 2000 apartments can be built on the 60 acres of the back nine holes of the golf course that is zoned R2. The residents of these apartments may exit onto DeBuys, Anniston Avenue, or Ford Street. These new developments violate city ordinances that require that new developments fit into the character of the existing neighborhoods and be commensurate in mass and form to adjacent homes, thus lowering property values and create overcrowding of the land and excessive density of the population.
2. Traffic: Each month these two dense subdivisions along Beach Drive alone will produce an additional 80,000 - 100,000 cars per month using a 2.2-mile-long road that is already narrower than required and cannot be widened because of its inflexible topography. New traffic, once the back nine of the golf course is developed, will bring even more traffic congestion on Beach Drive, Anniston Avenue, Ford Street, Highway 90, and DeBuys, causing traffic jams and unsafe driving conditions. Beach Drive and Anniston Avenue traffic are already at peak capacity. There is currently no road access for a development on the back nine of the golf course. The additional developments will have a direct impact on traffic that can create gridlock and increase dangerous driving conditions.
3. Emergencies: Beach Drive is the only road for existing subdivisions to use for everyday travel and during evacuations. Additionally, if the one road leading in and out of two subdivisions along Beach Drive is blocked by an accident, fire trucks and ambulances cannot service these subdivisions during emergencies. Since some portions of Beach Drive are in a “VE” flood zone, flooding occurs during storms due to inadequate drainage or rising Gulf waters, making Beach Drive unsafe for car travel and trapping residents during certain weather events.
4. Pollution: Contaminated storm water from these new, overly dense developments will contain fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum pollutants from vehicles, and toxic chemicals that will drain directly into the Mississippi Sound, endangering the health of swimmers and the habitats of wildlife. Developers must use best management practices that add retention ponds into their site plans to protect the MS Sound and to naturally filter pollutants and debris that are created by new developments.
5. Tree Preservation: Trees, particularly protected live oaks, in this area of East Gulfport are so vital to our coastal community that the city of Gulfport established an ordinance that clearly states that large trees shall be preserved wherever possible. Some of the trees in our neighborhoods are registered in the Garden Clubs of Mississippi, including “Annie Oak,” over 600 years old. The tree ordinance mandates the preservation of large trees that need to be preserved to prevent the “Profit” of developers over “Preservation.” Developers have admitted that “some trees will be lost.”
6. Contaminated Soil and Water: The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has recommended additional water and soil testing on the proposed site of the Arbor development to determine the extent of pesticide and herbicide contamination (specifically gamma-Chlordane and Dieldrin) and to access the amount of RCRA Metals (specifically Arsenic) on the former golf course property. Initial testing of the golf course revealed unsafe levels of these chemicals higher than allowed by MDEQ. The concern of citizens is that once the developer begins digging and disturbing the soil, Inorganic Arsenic will be unearthed and introduced back into the environment causing contamination at toxic levels to groundwater, surface water, and the air. Such exposures are detrimental to the health of the construction workers and thousands of nearby residents, particularly children whose developing brains and bodies are extremely susceptible to chemicals toxicity.
If you are interested in helping the residents of East Gulfport in their fight to protect their neighborhoods and make the City of Gulfport uphold its existing ordinances and zoning regulations, please sign our petition below. Attend planning commission and city council meetings that will rule on these important issues. Dates for these meetings will be posted regularly on this website and Facebook. Follow us on Facebook at ProtectOurNeighborhoodsMS. Additionally, call/email the Gulfport mayor and council members:
- Mayor, Billy Hewes at (228) 868-5801 or email@example.com;
- Kenneth Casey (Ward 1) firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Ron Roland (Ward 2) at (228) 234-5960 or email@example.com;
- Ella Holmes-Hines (Ward 3),firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Rusty Walker (Ward 4) (228) 868-5848 or email@example.com;
- Miles Sharp (Ward 5) firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Robert “Lee” Flowers (Ward 6) email@example.com;
- Richard Kosloski (Ward 7) firstname.lastname@example.org.