by Calvin Ishee

In a packed auditorium of local residents primarily there for two reasons, an application for variances for a proposed commercial project that includes the construction of a Doctor’s Office and a request to mandate masks be worn throughout the City, the Pass Christian Board of Alderman voted 3-2 against requiring masks be worn by all of it’s citizens.

Although earlier in the day Pass Mayor Chipper McDermott made wearing a mask mandatory in all City buildings, a majority of the Board felt that the City should simply follow COVID 19 orders issued by the Mississippi Governor’s Office instead of forcing residents to wear masks in public.

In a regurgitation of concerns already expressed at the recent PC Planning Commission meeting regarding potential traffic, drainage, Smart Code and tree removal, several citizens rose in opposition to a commercial project being proposed in East Pass Christian.  The Planning Commission recently voted unanimously to approve variances that would bring commercial development to the corner of Menge Avenue and Second Street. After a lengthy discussion that also included statements of support from several local property owners, the Board supported the Planning Commission’s decision by voting unanimously to approve the applicants variance request.

As recommended by City Attorney Malcolm Jones, included in the approved motion and the meeting minutes were his findings for this project. The findings addressed a variance to exceed 12 foot side yard setback, variance from 60% buildout at Street and for parking in the first and second layers and the Re-Subdivision application.  The document surmised that the “use as proposed by the applicant is permitted as a matter of right, will not cause undue traffic congestion or create a traffic hazard and the development of the land will be in harmony with the scale, bulk,coverage, density and character of the area neighborhood”.

The copy of the entire letter of findings can be obtained at City Hall and a recording of the Public Hearing can be found on the City’s official website.

The Board also voted to keep the City’s State of Emergency for COVID 19 in place until further notice.   The BOA begrudgingly approved the disposal of the inventoried property and furnishings from the mobile home trailer of John Trepagnier at 703 East North Street.  According to Code Enforcement Director Tom Duffy, Trepagnier was initially given 60 days notice and  “We’ve talked to him numerous times without luck.”  It was noted that this has been ongoing for at least five months and it’s costing the taxpayers $105 per month to store Trepagnier’s personal items.

Those voting no on this measure was Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot and Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall.

On August 4th Pass Christian residents will have an opportunity to vote in a Special Election regarding a twenty five year franchise agreement with Mississippi Power Company. According to City Officials the only downside to voting no would be that the City would only receive a 2% franchise fee instead of 3% offered by the company,  if the measure is approved. They further stated that since there’s currently no other option for electricity service to the Pass, there are no downsides to voting yes on August 4th.

If you’d like more specific information about this issue, contact City Hall.

In a move that shocked and surprised some folks attending the meeting, Ward 1 Alderman Buddy Clarke revoked his request of $3,250 in support of Jeepin the Coast 2020.     Although no explanation was originally given when Clarke changed his mind about Jeepin, after the meeting he confirmed that his decision was based on his COVID 19 concerns.