by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com

Interested in putting a business into the Pass Christian East Harbor?  The Pass Christian Board of Aldermen unanimously authorized advertisement for an RFP (Request for Proposals) to enter into a long-term lease that would allow a business to develop in the Greenspace of the East Harbor at the latest meeting on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

In accordance with the Mardi Gras holiday, the board chose to move the meeting to Thursday on a recess.  Pass Christian City Attorney Malcolm Jones spearheaded the plan in the East Harbor after the city received $270,000 in the Fiscal Year 2022 Tidelands funds for the West Harbor provided by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (MDMR), which received this allocation from the Mississippi State Legislature.

Following the city Board of Aldermen approving the grant agreement for West Harbor Improvements, Jones acknowledged that in the East Harbor each bid will have review and input from Pass Christian Harbormaster Russell Holliman, Jr., the city Planning Commission, and the aldermen.  The city attorney said there is limitation on what is offered as well as architectural review that must follow city compliance in the East Harbor.

“I hope this would be reviewed by the Planning Commission,” said Pass Christian Alderman-at-Large Kenny Torgeson.  “They know what we are looking for as far as business goes.”

Due to flooding concerns, Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich brought up the velocity zones along with Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot asking if the city engineer would offer input towards the plan.

Additionally, the Board of Aldermen approved Jones the right to obtain an appraisal to establish fair market annual rental rate for such space in this long-term lease agreement.

After Mayor Jimmy Rafferty stated the greenspace area would not allow a fast-food restaurant or brand businesses, Ward 3 Alderman Kirk Kimball stated the city officials need to “keep an open mind.”

The Grant Agreement for the West Harbor was not previously sent to the city, and it is required the Pass Christian approve the agreement before they seek reimbursements on the projects.  An application for Tidelands funds were submitted by former Mayor Leo “Chipper” McDermott and was appropriated during the 2021 State Legislative Session.