by Calvin Ishee

The Planning Commission held an Open Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 26th to address a Re-Subdivision request to divide one lot into two lots as well as a variance involving a lot that wouldn’t be in compliance due to the lot fronting 2nd Street having an existing shed/Outbuilding without a PrincipalBuilding. (remove: an old dilapidated structure). Both the buyer and seller were represented as well as citizens for and against this request. The property is located on Scenic Drive just east of the Hotel Pass Christian and goes all the way back to Second Street.

Danit Simon, City Planner, outlined the specifics of the request including the purchasers requirement to submit a Historic Commission Application and a Demolition Permit Application within 30-days of the closing date, which finalizes the sale of the 2nd Street parcel. Additionally, demolish the structure within six months of the Demolition Permit being issued. She also quoted applicable SmartCode references as well as the Standards for Commission approval and provided her opinion.

The floor was opened for comment and Donald Rafferty, attorney for Jourdan Nicaud, owner of Bachus and and the Hotel Pass Christian, offered his clients objections to this request. One of which had to do with the process itself whereby the commission would be approving a compliant property being converted into a non-compliant property, pending the demo of the structure which would put the property in compliance. He also stated his concerns regarding the lack of available space on these lots to provide acceptable parking space.  Rafferty also stated that if approved by the commission, his client would consider appealing their decision. He stated this could be a long process and potentially delay the sale of this property.

Nicaud also addressed the Commission and stated that although he applauds and welcomes new businesses to Pass Christian, “they must be done the right way”. In particular he noted his concerns regarding available parking to this property. If the purchaser decided to open a restaurant on this location, he would be hard pressed to provide sufficient parking for employees and customers alike. He also noted that this shortage could mean infringement on the parking that he provides for his businesses.

Malcolm Jones, Pass Christian City Attorney provided guidance on what the Commission could and couldn’t do with this matter. After a lengthy discussion. Jones and the Planning Commissioners recommended that the Commission require both the buyer and seller sign the final agreement which stipulates the removal of the structure in question. Furthermore, for the record Jones had Morton Davis, the purchaser verbally agree to the aforementioned stipulations.