PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Pass Christian city leaders say it's time for the Hurricane Katrina slabs to go. The city's aldermen have passed a slab removal ordinance that will take effect in 30 days. Then the letters will start going out. Leaders said it's time to clean the city up.
Pass Christian has 169 reminders of the homes and businesses washed away by Hurricane Katrina a decade ago. Some residents say they're tired of looking at slabs.
"The ones that are left really need to go," said Ken Austin, a resident and a realtor. "It devalues property around them. And as you are trying to sell property in a city you want to make sure the city looks its best."
A new ordinance calls for the removal of slabs, piers, columns, driveways, walkways and parking areas. Pass Christian officials said soon letters will go out to property owners.
Pass Christian Building Official Shad Jeanfreau said, "They will be given a 30 day notice. A courtesy letter. If we get no reply, then we're going to send them another 30 day notice. It's going to be an official letter to come before the city council and to find out how they are going to remove their slab."
Officials say they realize removing the slab is a huge expense.
"It could cost $4,000 or $5,000, so I am concerned about the cost because some people just don't have it," said Jeanfreau. "Financial hardship is going to be there for some of these individuals. We're willing to work with them. We've got some good contractors that if they can get multiple slabs, they can give them discounts. So we're trying to hope the average number is about $1,500 to $2,0000 to remove these slabs."
Not removing foundations could also be expensive for property owners..
"If they finally do not remove it, there are going to be financial penalties through the court system and through fines," Jeanfreau said. "If that doesn't work we'll probably have to hire an outside contractor which would go on their tax lien."
Leaders said they want to make the city more attractive to people considering calling Pass Christian their home or opening a business.. Pass Christian officials said the slab removal efforts will take time and they plan to begin with the downtown area.