Comfort station controversy continues in Bay St. Louis

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The controversy over a new comfort station being built on the beach at Washington Street in Bay St. Louis continues to brew. As WLOX News first reported last week, people who live near the raised restroom building have filed a lawsuit to stop construction and have the structure torn down.

But despite the legal battle, county supervisors are moving forward.

"We want them torn down," said Attorney Henry Laird.

Laird is representing 22 homeowners who live near the project.

"It's a beautiful beach view. People move there for that reason. Now they have a restroom in their front yards. It's unsightly, it's ugly," explained Laird.

Laird also said a building permit should have never been issued for the project by the city of Bay St. Louis.

"It's R-5 open beach zoned which means no structures allowed, none on any of the beaches except for limited situations involving a pier or a gazebo, maybe a pavilion, but certainly not a massive structure like this."

County Attorney Ronnie Artigues responded, saying, "With the litigation pending I can't comment on that other than to say that we believe that the city properly issued the building permit and that the project is proper and suitable for the area."

The comfort station going up on property owned by American Legion Post 139, the site of its original building, which was destroyed by Hurricane Camille.

The county has leased that land for years, but the American Legion says not any more.

"We had a 25-year lease with the county, Hancock County, which expired in November of 2012," said Clayton Thompson, Commander of the American Legion Post 139.

Monday morning, county supervisors approved a new lease agreement with the American Legion.

"With the intention of obtaining a current appraisal and hopefully amicably buying the property from the Legion pretty soon," said Artigues.

No matter who owns the property, residents say the bathrooms have to go.

"Demolish them," Laird said.

Thursday, a judge will hear the case from property owners asking to halt construction of the comfort station and tear down what's already been built.

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