Plaintiffs flush ‘Comfort’ suit
By Dwayne Bremer
Jun 25, 2013, 18:25
Workers on Tuesday put the finishing touches on the “comfort station” at the beach in Bay St. Louis near the Washington Street Pier.
The plaintiffs in the battle over the Washington Street comfort station have dropped their lawsuit.
Attorney Henry Laird, who represented about 20 local residents who were fighting the construction of the facility announced Monday that his clients were dropping the suit.
Last week, Chancery Court Judge Jim Persons ruled the comfort station was a permissible use under the county's Sand Beach Master Plan.
The remaining arguments were set to go to trial Tuesday.
Hancock County Attorney Ronnie Artigues said Monday that the board of supervisors believed all along that constructing the comfort station was legal and a needed improvement to the beach-front area. According to court records, the county entered into a 25-year lease with the American Legion Post 139 in 1987 for use of the Washington Street property.
That lease was extended earlier this year and the county is in negotiations with the Legion to purchase the property.
Over the past three decades, the property has been widely used by the public.
A fishing pier, boat launch, and pavilion have all been constructed; however, there are no public restrooms.
The Sand Beach Master Plan, a collaborative effort between the county, Bay St. Louis, and Waveland, was enacted in 1986, and it lists the Washington Street area as a "priority area for new recreational facility development."
In August 2012, supervisors awarded a $556,000 contract to Gulf Coast Custom Homes, LLC for construction of the bathroom station.
The county received a building permit from Bay St. Louis on Dec. 20, 2012.
The property is located in an R-5 (open beach use district).
Residents who live near the comfort station, however, feel that the comfort station will obstruct views and that it is being built against the city's zoning rules. In March, about 20 residents filed suit to try to stop the comfort station.
The comfort station is nearly complete and it is expected to be opened later this summer.