By Jessica Bowman – email
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The Harbor Landing Restaurant in the Ocean Springs Harbor has closed. This comes after the Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen ruled they had made a mistake in granting the owner a special use permit to open a restaurant at the harbor in 2007.
Now, owner David Harris has one of two options. He can reapply for a business license to run a restaurant, or he can follow zoning laws and open his building as a private yacht club.
Harris is choosing the latter.
"If that's what we have to do that's what we have to do," Harris said. "There was some people that live right around the hill that didn't want it. But, that's their right to have that opinion and that desire."
Harris believes it's his right to continue operating for the citizens of Jackson County.
"As a yacht club, we can. As far as my feelings now, we're waiting, talking to the city and trying to work through the system," Harris said.
The Ocean Springs Board of Aldermen repealed the special use permits for parking, hours of operation and seasonal security.
"My plans will have reasonable dues; The best dues I can provide based on legal opinion from the city."
Children are one of Harris' main concerns when it comes to the yacht club. He plans to offer an array of organized events for the kids that include fishing rodeos and boating safety classes.
"I liked it just laid back the way it was taking care of people, having people come by every day, loving it, loving the view, loving the food. But, if it's got to be a yacht club, they can still do that."
Harris said he is waiting for the city to give final approval before he can open the doors to the Harbor Landing Yacht Club. He has no renovations plans, and only one small change to take care of right now.
"The lady who does the sign painting is supposed to come by and take the 'restaurant' off of the Harbor Landing Restaurant and turn it into Harbor Landing Yacht Club," Harris said.
The club's hours of operation will remain from sunrise to sunset.