Un-Comfort-able: Neighbors file suit to stop beach bathrooms in Bay
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 29, 2013, 16:35
More controversy over the $600,000 Washington Street Comfort Station project.in Bay St. Louis erupted this week when nearby property owners sued the county to stop its construction. The owners of the property, the Bay St. Louis American Legion said last month the county is building on their property without a lease.
A group of 22 local residents has filed a lawsuit against the Hancock County Board of Supervisors protesting the new comfort station being constructed near the Washington Street Pier.
The suit was filed in Hancock County Chancery Court on Wednesday.
Attorney Henry Laird represents the complainants.
"My clients have a number of issues with this comfort station," Laird said Wednesday. "Who wants to live next to a bathroom? It is a nuisance. We filed this suit because there was a number of problems with the facility."
The suit claims that the county is constructing the comfort station in violation of Bay St. Louis zoning ordinances.
Although the county controls the beach-front area, any construction generally falls under the city's zoning, officials said.
The property is currently zoned R-5 residential, officials said.
Bay Mayor Les Fillingame said Wednesday that since the project is part of the county's Sand Beach Master Plan, the city has ceded authority to the county.
The property is owned by American Legion Post 139. Last month, American Legion members approached supervisors about purchasing the property. Although the comfort station has been in the works for a while, supervisors let the county's lease on the property lapse last year.
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 more than 25 percent complete, officials said. Laird said his clients are seeking an injunction to stop the project. Chancery Judge Sandy Steckler has been assigned to the case but no hearing date has been set.
Hancock County Attorney Ronnie Artigues said Thursday that the county believes it has the right to build the station.