Fight to save St. Paul church is now in court

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) – The Pass Christian Board of Aldermen wants the St. Paul sanctuary on Scenic Drive to be demolished. But, before the wrecking ball arrives, supporters of the hurricane damaged building have taken their fight to court.

A notice of appeal has been filed at the Harrison County courthouse by six members of a group called "Save St. Paul's." Their suit alleges that aldermen violated the open meetings statute when they overrode a mayoral veto, and approved a permit to tear down the St. Paul building.

What to do with the St. Paul property has been one of Pass Christian's most contentious post-Katrina issues. After the hurricane tore through St. Paul's sanctuary, the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi determined that because of structural problems, saving the church building wasn't feasible. Several parishioners disagreed with that assessment. They launched an initiative to try and save the St. Paul site.

Earlier this month, aldermen determined that a permit to demolish St. Paul should be granted. Mayor Chipper McDermott vetoed that permit, saying he wanted to know what the church would do with the Scenic Drive property before authorizing the sanctuary's destruction. But last week, aldermen reversed the mayor's decision.

And now, the fight goes to Harrison County Circuit Court.

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