Long Beach residents to voice opinion about rezoning plans

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Residents here will be able to express their views on proposed zoning regulations for casinos, condominiums and educational districts at a March 6 public hearing.

The proposed regulations were forwarded to the Long Beach mayor and Board of Aldermen by the city’s Planning Commission. The commission’s recommendations are limited to setting up legal definitions and base guidelines for the districts.

The city at this point is not seeking to rezone any property for gambling.

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Long Beach has no law that even allows for casinos. The Board of Aldermen directed the commission to establish legal definitions for casinos after a majority of city voters in a non-binding referendum last summer said they supported having a casino across U.S. 90 from the Long Beach Harbor.

The height limit for casino developments and condominiums is proposed at 100 feet above the adopted base flood elevation. The city may grant casinos 10 feet more for parking and another 10 feet for rooftop architectural elements.

Under the proposed guidelines, a casino developer must have at least five acres, make a formal application and present a master plan before the city would consider rezoning any property. The Mississippi Gaming Commission has the final say on whether a site is legal for gambling, but as a policy the commission will not consider any application until it has the proper city zoning.