Letter from Moss Point leaves homeowners feeling betrayed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Letter from Moss Point city officials leaves homeowners feeling betrayed

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MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) -

Several Moss Point homeowners say city officials have broken a promise made to them after Hurricane Katrina. They repaired or rebuilt their homes after the storm, only to be told seven years later what they did was wrong. Letters from the city give them three options: elevate, tear down, or move.

"Confusion. I don't that the city would give us permits to re-do our homes and six years later we have to tear it down," David Upton said. 

Others, like Patricia Foster, use stronger words.  "I feel very betrayed. I feel hurt, betrayed, neglected. I can't express how I feel," Foster said. "This is leaving a lot of people out of homes. We don't know where to go. We have no place to go."   

After getting the original letter from Moss Point officials saying they either have to move, tear down, or elevate their homes after repairing them, getting another letter made it even worse. That letter said they could go to jail for 90 days or pay a $1,000 a day fine for non-compliance. 

"I can't financially afford an attorney and to fight the city, I can't fight the city. I just don't have the funding for it," Upton said. 

This impasse has left some wondering why it happened at all.  Ramona Broun is another homeowner.  

"They shouldn't have given us the permits. They shouldn't have let us do this in the first place if it wasn't something that was going to be permanent," Broun said. "And I feel like they have done everybody dirty. Really dirty." 

City building officials say they are simply doing what FEMA is telling them to do to meet federal flood guidelines and protect the city's flood insurance. Andrew Beamon heads up the department.  

"The city has rules and guidelines that we must follow. And what they are receiving is just a letter saying that we have to go through this process in order to get it resolved," Beamon said.

Any resolution can't come quickly enough for the homeowners, with their futures hanging in the balance.  

City officials say the process of working with FEMA cold take several months. They also say the homeowners should not worry about facing jail time, saying they are not in the business of arresting anyone over this elevation dispute.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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