by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

As reported in the June 11, 2021 edition of The Gazebo Gazette, former Pass Christian Mayor Ted Lawyer laid into the City for not taking action against a commercial seafood business operating in a residential neighborhood. As promised by Pass Christian City Attorney Malcolm Jones, the City is in the process of taking the unauthorized commercial business to court.

Immediately after Lawyer made his complaints at the   June 1st, 2021 Board of Alderman meeting, Jones went into action by contacting the attorney for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR). He discovered that although the owners of the commercial seafood business, Thi Nguyet and Ming Hoang Troung had in fact been issued Seafood Dealer and Processor licenses, they did not have permission to operate in a residential area.

Apparently Nguyet and Troung have been licensed for years out of their address of 401 Oak Park Drive, Pass Christian, Mississippi. As noted in an email sent from Sandy Chestnut, MDMR Special Assistant Attorney General City to City Attorney Jones, “the fact that they possess a license from DMR to perform the activity does not override the City’s zoning laws”.

The email further stated, “It is up to the business owner to ensure that they are operating their business in compliance with all federal, state and city laws and regulations.”  Of special note was the sentence “Accordingly, the City can take action to enforce the zoning regardless of the DMR license.”

Another allegation brought up by Lawyer was the use of bleach by the seafood company ostensibly used to mask the smell of the seafood process. The DMR addressed this as well by stating, “in regards to the bleach going into the drainage system, the City can report this to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality for further inspection and possible action.

In response to the DMR email Jones commented, “Based upon the foregoing interpretation, we are going to move forward with our prosecution in City Court for violation of the City’s zoning ordinance.”  He also noted “We anticipate that the case will be heard in (the Pass Christian City Court) in the middle to latter part of July.

At that point City Judge Skip Negrotto will hear the case and render a decision according. The Gazebo Gazette will continue covering this case until it’s been properly resolved.