Lawsuit filed to halt rezoning for proposed Coast casino

BILOXI — A Harrison County judge has been asked to stop the rezoning of 19 acres west of Interstate 110 to waterfront in Biloxi to make way for a new casino.

The lawsuit was filed last week by neighbors and the Gulf Islands Conservancy opposed the Biloxi City Council’s decision to rezone the property to waterfront. Waterfront zoning is required before the Mississippi Gaming Commission can consider whether it is a legal site.

The Biloxi City Council approved the rezoning application Oct. 15.

The land was zoned to allow a hotel, stores, restaurants — everything but a casino.

Wayne Hengen, attorney for some property owners to help with the zoning change, told The Sun Herald reports that the neighbors’ objections were addressed by the Biloxi Planning Commission and the city council before the vote to rezone.

The question came down to state law that allows casinos to be built onshore after Hurricane Katrina.

Before the 2005 storm, areas west of I-110 were excluded from casino development. A 1998 ruling by the Gaming Commission established an imaginary line from 1,200 feet west of I-110 on the D’Iberville side, where casino sites were already proposed, diagonally to the center of the I-110 bridge in Biloxi. It essentially separated the Biloxi Bay to the east and the Back Bay of Biloxi to the west and prohibited casino development west of the bridge.

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