Neighbors protest campsite in Hancock County

By Al Showers - bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It looks like 15 RV and camper dewellers will have to look for another place to set up their temporary homes. The Hancock County planning and zoning commission rejected a plan that would have allowed the Burrell family to continue to operate a 32 site RV park on Firetower Road.

"People this is not an RV park. It is not a trailer park; it's a shanty town. This looks like a Gypsy camp," Hancock County resident Paul Vegas said. "I'm asking on behalf of everone here that you reject this."

Neighbors of the RV & Campground on Firetower Road say enough is enough. Three and a half years ago, the Burrell family received a permit to open a temporary campground for volunteers and other relief workers after Katrina. The permit expired in 2007.

"That permit ran out. Everybody should have gone home. We've gone that whole distance right at three years without any legal permits in that camp," said Vegas.

People with homes at the campsite say a permanent RV park in the neighborhood will bring down property values and be disruptive.

"All it's going to do is bring in outside people that we don't know, and we know there's a lot," said Burt Courigee, a Hancock County resident. "I have nothing against foreign people or ethnics or anything like that, but the fact of the matter is there's a lot of hispanics back there that are working and going and coming."

The Burrell's daughter, Beth Seymour, took issue with that characterization of the tenants.

"The spots that are in there are contract people that are here. Nine of the spots that are there are Hemphill workers that are superintendents," Seymour said. "That's the kind of people that we have in there. Permits wise, I don't know that's why we're here. We're here to see if we can get this permitted, and do it right."

County planners didn't talk about who's living in the RV Camp but considered the neighborhood and zoning regulations and voted three to two that the temporary camp should not get a permit to keep operating.

The Burrell's can appeal the planning commission's decision to the Board of Supervisor's. The family did not say to day if it would take that step.

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