$1 billion Broadwater Resort proposal passed the Biloxi Planning Commission

After about 3½ hours of discussion, developers of the 261-acre condo, hotel and casino resort got a height variance — which will allow one structure to be built at 403 feet, as opposed to the 220 feet specified in the city’s Land Development Ordinance — among other variances and a zoning change.

Now, the plans will go before the City Council for final approval.

The Broadwater plans call for two casinos: one at the site of the Broadwater Hotel and another south of U.S. 90.

Mark Calvert, who gave the presentation on behalf of the developers, said the project could be finished by December 2008.

“I don’t think the city has seen a project this big, and probably won’t see another one this big,” Calvert said.

The Broadwater Resort would be built with some 3,375 total condo and 1,900 hotel-room units on site and would also have an 18-hole golf course, with possible condominiums to be built on the site of the former Broadwater Sun Golf Course. The golf course, which is about 180 acres, would also have retail shops along the edges.

Broadwater Development LLP is a partnership formed by Coast businessmen W.C. “Cotton” Fore and Roy Anderson III, who own the 261 acres involved in the project.

The plans have also included one possible exit from the resort area at Jim Money Road onto Pass Road, near the post office, which is a three-way stoplight. This raised the ire of one resident, Terrance Young, who lives on Grady Drive east of the project. He also said the project was moving too fast.

“We are not talking about small variance requests,” Young said. “We are talking about substantial exceptions to the laws on the books.”

Planning Director Ed Shambra said the commission should ask the developers to come back with more-specific information, including details related to the entrances and exits to the property.

Shambra also said he was concerned the group was asking for a variance on parking spaces, which would be roughly 1.8 spaces per unit, less than the normal 2.5 per unit.

“Obviously, this is a very convoluted application,” he said.

With about $1 billion in estimated cost for the project, Calvert said each month the Broadwater Resort isn’t running costs governments a combined $6.5 million in tax revenue, based on the developers’ economic-impact study.

One of the project’s selling points is it conformed with design concepts laid out by the Governor’s Commission, Calvert said, touting the “walkability” of the site, and also the mixing of residential and commercial structures.

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