The Gulfport Site Plan Review Committee made no official recommendations during its Sept. 15 meeting, but certain proposed developments in their infancy stages received feedback and instructions on next steps.
A vacant lot at 3019 Beach Blvd. S. has been targeted for a possible mixed-use development with a two-story building that would have retail sales on the ground floor and residential on the second floor. The lot is next door to the existing Bo-Tiki retail establishment; Joe and Maddy Guenther own both; Joe has made application for the new construction.
According to the plans discussed at the meeting, Bo-Tiki and the new building would appear from the street to be connected but each structure will be self-contained. The proposed new structure will have a breezeway through it. The two lots will likely have to get combined into a single lot for the planning and building permitting process to move forward.
Guenther said he plans to build the commercial area of the new building to suit.
“We don’t really know at this point what will be wanted down there,” he told the committee, adding that it could be divided into anywhere from two to five retail spaces. He mentioned that a restaurant would be a “worst-case” option from a parking standpoint, but plans to install grease traps – just in case.
“It’s cheaper to do things while you’re building than to retrofit,” said Gulfport’s Community Development director, Fred Metcalf.
The building will require a sprinkler system installation because of the residential component, as mandated by Gulfport code. Guenther said the building will be updated to meet FEMA requirements.
Guenther will update the plans based on the discussion and bring them back to a future meeting.
Another applicant, Ben Leininger, came to discuss his proposal for 2822 Beach Blvd. S., formerly home to TLC grocery store. He put forth a proposal for a mixed usage of office, retail space, and residential.
After some discussion, the City suggested he might scrap the residential portion, which would have been on a yet-to-be-constructed second floor. Since the City would not allow other uses on second floors in mixed-use developments, the City also shot down Leininger’s idea of also having an office space upstairs. Now, he may not build the second floor because he doesn’t anticipate enough revenue from the residential use to justify the expense.
As with Guenther, Leininger will put together an updated plan to bring back to the committee.
The Site Plan Review Committee consists solely of City staff and makes recommendations on projects, which then go before the Planning Commission and City Council. Those two bodies conduct public hearings on the proposals they consider. The Site Plan Review Committee meetings do not accept public comment, but the public may attend.