by Calvin Ishee

As reported in the July 10th 2020 edition of the Gazebo Gazette, Frances Hoffman has been contesting the new Dermatology office located at the juncture of Menge Avenue and Second Street as well as the City’s Smart Code since June 2020.

At the June 30th meeting of the Pass Christian Planning Commission (PCPC) meeting Hoffmann rose to speak against the Smart Code as well as the doctor’s office being built in a “residential” area.

As noted by both PCPC Chair Tom Phares and then City Planner Danit Simon, property owner Bill Wingfield was not required to bring this issue before the Planning Commission.

Simon commented “By right, the applicant could have constructed a building that is not keeping with the neighborhood, that is denser, taller, with a maximum density of 70% lot coverage and have larger buildings on smaller lots. The project presented to is to create a commercial project that is more in keeping with the surrounding residential and commercial neighborhood “.

This project also received full support from the Pass Christian Tree Board that noted, “The Tree Board recommends that the Mixed-Use Development Project at the corner of Menge Avenue and Second Street be accepted as is.”

Long time Commissioner Ken Austin added, “I have never seen a more thoughtful, well put together and well designed project as this. The existing office in Gulfport is beautiful, including landscaping and trees similar to what is proposed here”.  He ended by saying “the applicant has created a project that will enhance the City “.

Not happy with the Board of Alderman’s approval of this project at their July 7th 2020 meeting, Hoffman decided to take the matter to court. She filed her case in the First Judicial Court, in the Circuit Court of Harrison County. She represented herself while Pass Christian City Attorney Malcom Jones represented the Board of Alderman.

Hoffmann’s lawsuit alleged “The actions of the Pass Christian Board of Alderman on July 7, 2020 in case number PC-23-2020 are contrary to the law and the facts and Frances Hoffman hereby notices her appeal to this action. Please note that the Appellant, Frances Hoffmann is not appealing a related application for resubdivision, PC-22-2020.”

In a recent conversation with Jones, he noted that all appeals had been exhausted and “it looks like this matter is about to come to a close.”

The Dermatology project continues to move forward and should be completed in the coming months. What remains open is whether or not Hoffmann can convince the Planning Commission to make the changes she deems appropriate.