Fate of Ocean Springs Harbor restaurant remains in limbo

By Jeff Lawson – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The controversy over whether a restaurant at the Ocean Springs harbor can stay open, won't be going away anytime soon.

Harbor Landing has been at the harbor for more than a year. A Court of Appeals decision Thursday found that the city's aldermen acted outside of their authority when they granted a special use exception, allowing the restaurant to open at the harbor.

Does this mean the restaurant, that some want to see closed, may actually have to shut its doors?

"That is what the court of appeals did say, that it should be shut down," attorney Paul Barber said. "So we agree with that."

Barber represents those who want the restaurant closed He thinks the Court of Appeals decision now clears the way for that to happen.

But that's not the opinion of the attorney on the other side of this controversy.

"This was probably a victory for the Harbor Landing group," attorney John Edwards said.

Edwards is representing the city in the legal proceedings concerning the harbor. He feels the only thing the court did was say the city acted outside of its authority when it granted the business a special use exception.

Edwards said the court decision in no way affects the future of this restaurant.

David Harris, who owns Harbor Landing, said there is no way he anticipates closing his business. Harris laughs at the suggestion the restaurant is not legally allowed at the harbor.

As for those who oppose his business, he insists, they are few in number.

"All but about ten people think this is a good idea, or a great idea," Harris said.

Nearby residents who oppose the restaurant say Harris should choose a better location for that kind of business, not someplace so close to a neighborhood.

It now appears likely, if the restaurant does not shut down, the issue could end up back in court.

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