Was this Bay St. Louis home demo justified?

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Imagine pulling up to your property prepared to work on your Katrina damaged home and discover it's no longer there. For one Bay St. Louis couple , that's just what happened four years ago.

They say demolition crews destroyed their home and hauled off the pieces without notifying them. They say their home was a victim of the city's property clean-up process.

They filed a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation, but say resolving the issue is moving at a snail's pace.

Arthur Bice said he spent the first two years after Katrina working on weekends to repair his storm damaged house. But one October weekend back in 2008, he received the shock of his life.

"I drove up preparing to work on it and looked around. I thought I was on the wrong street for a moment and realized that the house was gone," Bice recalled.

He said he had no idea his house was on the blighted property clean-up list. He said he never received a notice from the city that their home was slated to be demolished.

"I'm not sure why they selected this house to tear it down. Across the street, there's a house that they haven't even touched. It was obvious I had been working on it because there were tools inside, scaffolding, the yard had been cut. I was maintaining the property. It was very obvious somebody was working on it."

City Attorney Donald Rafferty told WLOX News, the city complied with state and local laws when it went through the property clean up process after Katrina. And he denied the Bices' claim that the city was stalling the legal process.

"I'd love to take this up in court and that's not happening either. So far they are being really slow," explained Bice.

The Bices say four years is long enough. They say until the issue is resolved, a full recovery from Katrina will never come for them.

"We did build another house that's away from the water, but this was our dream. This is where we wanted to live on the water with our boat. All the things we lost in the storm we were wanting back again."

The Bices' attorney told us he's been waiting on the city to turn over essential evidence in the case for more than two years.

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