New apartments coming to Old Airport Road

By HASKEL BURNS,

Three years ago, new life was given to the site of the former Beverly Drive-In Theater with the development of The Village at The Beverly, a $9.1 million, seven-building apartment complex.

Phase II of that project is about to get underway in the form of 40 new multi-family units at 15 Old Airport Road, just north of the current complex. The measure was approved Tuesday by Hattiesburg City Council, which voted 5-0 to allow a Planned Mixed-Use Planned District for the property, rather than a previously-approved Planned Unit Development Overlay District.

“The planning department will (now) continue to work with the applicant to kind of fine-tune their site plan,” said Andrew Ellard, director of the city’s Urban Development Department. “Once they have a site plan that’s approvable according to our code, then they would move on to permitting and construction, and hopefully soon we’ll see a lot more residents in that area.”

Council originally approved the Planned Unit Development designation under the city’s previous land code in 2013, but after the site layout changed, planning officials sent the project through review of the city’s planning commission and council. In addition, the former Planned Unit Development definition no longer exists in the city’s current code.

“What we now call Planned Mixed Use, and more specifically, Planned Development, is the most closely comparable zone/district overlay,” Ellard said in a letter to Mayor Toby Barker. “This request does not seek to change the previously approved use of the property, but will serve to define it according to the current code.”

Phase III of the project, which will feature a mixed-use development with living and commercial space, is expected to be presented in the future.

“The big picture is mixed-use, kind of like The District at Midtown,” said Samantha McCain, chief communication officer for the city. “There’s places to live, there’s places to eat, there’s places to shop.”