Discomfort Station: County's lease has expired
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 19, 2013, 17:54
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors has begun building a $600,000 comfort station, but the project has apparently made the property owners a bit uncomfortable.
Members of Bay St. Louis American Legion Post 139 appeared at the board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday to express their concerns about the project.
The comfort station is being constructed on the west side of the Washington Street Pier.
The American Legion owns the property and also owns the property on the east side of the pier, which it is trying to get rezoned for commercial development.
Supervisors had held a lease on the comfort station property, but that lease expired last year.
The comfort station is being built as a complement to the county's pavilion at Washington Street.
The idea has been tossed around for years, but the county did not have funding for it until 2012.
Last year, supervisors entered into a contract with Gulf Coast Custom Homes for the project.
Pilings for the facility have already been placed and the project is about 25 percent compete, officials said.
American Legion member Bill Taylor told supervisors Tuesday that the Legion would like to see more transparency with the county's plans for the property.
"We never saw a blueprint of this project before the pilings were started," Taylor said. "These bathrooms are going to take up so much space that the rest of the property is going to be useless. We just want to know what direction this is going in. As the construction continues, it's getting worse for us."
Taylor suggested the county purchase the property from the Legion.
Compton Engineering is managing the project for the county.
Geoff Clemens of Compton said Tuesday that his company will sit down with the American Legion later this week with a full survey of the project.
Clemens said the project should not affect the property to the west of the pier.
"The road and parking lot are going to back to the way it was before with just a small slope," Clemens said.
Tax Assessor/Collector Jimmie Ladner said the county could get a survey of the property; however, it needs to be aware that the figures may change.
Last month, the American Legion asked the Bay St. Louis City Council for a zoning change on its beach-front property.
One idea behind the request for the change was to possibly lease the area east of the pier to a developer who wants to build an ambitious boardwalk project.
"The appraisal is going to be made under the current zoning," Ladner said. "It is not going to take into consideration any potential changes."
Officials said purchasing the beach-front property would not be cheap.
Taylor said the American Legion just wants to be "treated fairly."
"We would be happy if the county could purchase the property at a fair price," he said.