What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hancock board condemns 64 properties

46 spared; razing bids received; Hancock board condemns 64 properties
November 28, 2007

HANCOCK COUNTY -- Nearly 27 months after Hurricane Katrina, county supervisors are still ordering the removal of storm-wrecked houses that litter the county.

Supervisors decided this week to condemn and order the destruction of 64 properties, all considered hazards and public nuisances. Most are in the southern area of the county, particularly in Bayside Park, Pearlington and Shoreline Park.

The vacant homes are in various states of disrepair. All were inspected by Compton Engineering, the county's contract engineer, before being condemned. Supervisors notified property owners, and on Monday the board reviewed each property at a public hearing.

The county started with 110 houses on its hazard list, but some were removed. Numbers of houses actually condemned and ordered destroyed were not available until Tuesday when it was announced 46 properties were taken off the list.

Costs of demolishing the structures will be reimbursed by FEMA. "This is your last chance to have your property cleared at FEMA's expense," board President Rocky Pullman said at the hearing.

A standing-room-only crowd of property owners showed up Monday, asking that their houses be spared. Their stories were as varied as their faces. In one case, supervisors removed a house from the demolition list at the request of a woman who said she finally had received a grant to rebuild.

In another, they removed from the list a house whose owner, according to Pullman, was deceased. That case was delayed until the county can determine who now owns the land.

In yet another, supervisors declined to condemn a house because photos of the property presented by inspectors showed a new door on the structure and a pile of shingles standing next to the house. Supervisors considered that evidence that renovations are ongoing.

"We're not here to hurt people," Pullman said.

There will be a final public hearing Dec. 17, when supervisors are expected to hold condemnation proceedings on 54 more houses. Those costs, too, will be covered by FEMA.

Also Monday, supervisors received bids from five companies to demolish the condemned properties. Bids ranged from $637,400 to nearly $2.5 million. The bids will now be reviewed by FEMA and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency before an award is made.

Return to A.M. in the Morning! Home

No comments: