Community Development Corp. (Harrison County) A New Model for Coastal
Growth in the Gulf Coast states is predicted to continue at a breakneck
pace. In Harrison County alone, the population increased almost 30 percent in the last
decade. But Tradition Community Development Corporation is proposing a smart-growth
alternative to sprawling development in this coastal region.
The project, a $1.7 billion planned community, is to be located 12 miles north of the
shoreline. While the development will bring more population growth to the coast, it is a
vastly preferred alternative to the sprawling, poorly planned development that currently
dominates the area.
In fact, if Harrison County provides for additional population growth in the
traditional way -- with one-acre lots -- it would take 25,000 acres (and thousands of
septic tanks) instead of the 4,600 acres and centralized sewage treatment and stormwater
management envisioned at Tradition.
The 15-year plan for the project calls for a series of developments that will offer a
range of housing choices. A variety of architectural styles are planned, and badly needed
affordable housing will be included. In addition to housing, the development will
eventually host a town center with up to 5,000 new job opportunities, as well as churches
and schools. No longer captive to the car, residents will be able to walk or bike to work,
to the store or to church.
The developers also plan to preserve up to 25 percent of the site as lakes, parks and
nature trails. One sticking point that needs to be resolved is a concern about the gopher
frog, a rare amphibian that may live in a pond next to Tradition property.
(Biloxi) Sprawl in the Mississippi
Biloxi should learn from cities in the South about the problems caused
by poorly planned development. One needs to look no further than Atlanta or Tampa for
examples of suburban sprawl at its worst. Unfortunately, the proposed Destination
Broadwater development demonstrates that Biloxi has yet to learn from these mistakes.
At the center of the project is a proposal to fill 65 acres of the Mississippi Sound
and almost four acres of wetlands for the construction of six floating casinos, eight
hotels, parking garages and other resort amenities. Where fish, crabs and other marine
creatures now live, sand mined from the bottom of the Sound will destroy existing habitat.
The proposed fill is so damaging that it would violate the Essential Fish Habitat
provisions of the Magnuson Fisheries Act in an area where natural fish habitat is already
being destroyed at an alarming rate.
There may also be devastating long-term environmental impacts: An estimated 7,436 new
septic tanks will be needed to accommodate new residents and hotels. This influx of sewage
will cause severe storm-water pollution, especially in light of the inability of most
coastal soil to properly filter the waste. In addition, air pollution could become a
serious concern, as the project will doubtlessly increase car traffic along the project's
It's hard to imagine any place where such a huge development would make sense. But in a
fragile area that has experienced rapid declines in water quality and wetlands habitat,
this project is especially inappropriate.