Pier debris a dangerous eyesore in Bay St. Louis

By Al Showers - bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of Katrina damaged, privately owned piers still line the beach front in Hancock County. And they're more than just a visual eyesore. They also pose a danger to boaters and swimmers.

"They could potentially pose a danger to marine vessels, and at that point the Coast Guard, I believe, have regulations where they could step in and have people at least remove the part of the structure that causes a hazard," Willa Brantley said.

Brantley is director of wetlands permitting for the Department of Marine Resources. She said it's unfortunate, but there's not much DMR can do about the problem.

"We do not have any regulations that cover removal of derelict piers or pilings, or anything like that. But we do have a permit that covers removal of those structures. So anybody can come in and get a permit from us. We can tell them the correct way to remove those derelict structures."

Right now the Bay St. Louis Building Department has no applications on file for new permits to rebuild privately owned piers. The department has only issued a handful of permits for piers since Katrina.

"Our first priority would certainly be get people back in decent, safe housing," Bay St. Louis building official Ronald Jones said.

Jones said storm damaged piers haven't gotten a lot of attention since Katrina, but will likely be addressed in the future.

"It's possible that the city could use state statue 29-19-11 that could demand that derelict docks or piers be torn down and removed."

Until then, locals officials can only hope property owners will get around to removing or rebuilding the piers.

Jones said he hasn't received any complaints about the derelict piers. But anyone who wants to can pick up a complaint form from the Bay St. Louis Building Department.

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