Neighbors want stone cutting business to grind to a halt

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Some Bay St. Louis residents have won a battle to silence someone they call a noisy and messy neighbor. Tuesday night, the city council voted to deny a stone cutter a permit to operate his business in a mostly residential area.

Robert Odom lives a stones throw away from the stone and granite counter-top cutting business.

"The noise is real screechy. It's extremely loud when they're cutting stone. It's a grinding noise that actually hurts your ears. And it vibrates the windows in the house," Bay St. Louis resident Robert Odom Sr. said. "It's about like having an airplane or something like that over the top of your house all day and all night."

Odom is one of about 40 people in the area who signed a petition opposing the business. The noise is one thing, but Odom says he also worries about the stone dust that floats through the air.

"It's detrimental to your health; it's got silica dust in it, and if you breath enough silica dust, you'll die of lung cancer," Odom said.

The stone cutter leases the building on Third Street. The attorney for the building owner says the stone work has been going on here for the past nine years. The current stone cutter took over the business last year

"So there is no question it's been grandfathered, and the city acknowledged that when it issued the permit to a pervious tenant," Steve Benvenutti said.

Benvenutti says part of the problem is city leaders changed zoning in the area last year.

Earlier this month the Planning and Zoning Commission gave the stone business the special exception needed to operate. But city council members who have the final say shot down the request.

The attorney for the building owner says the city needs to put its objections in writing for his client and added zoning rules have an appeals process.

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