Questions arise about Bay St. Louis zoning laws

Questions arise about Bay St. Louis zoning laws
The mayor says he's ready to fix the situation. (Photo source: WLOX)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - In Bay St. Louis, questions are arising about the enforceability of zoning codes.

Bay St. Louis attorney Steve Benvenutti says his client, a cabinet maker, has been affected by a zoning ordinance about the industrial use of his property; which may or may not be legally valid.

"He was denied a privilege license to engage in activities on his property that were fully lawful under the previous zoning code, which - in my legal opinion - is the zoning code that's enforceable today," said Benvenutti.

Benvenutti claims after repeated searches, he and others have been unable to produce proof that zoning laws which were passed in 2010 were published in the newspaper, as required by law.

"I just came from Sea Coast Echo building this afternoon and I found again, no publications. I wanted to check because they supposedly did some amendments in 2011 which also had to be published, and those weren't published either. The publisher says there's no indication they brought the documents for him to publish," said the attorney.

Benvenutti also says in order for any of those laws to be legally enforceable, state law requires them to be published. The orders can only be enforced within 30 days of that date.

Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame says he's ready to fix the situation, however possible.

"We're still investigating that. There's an indication they may not have been published in 2010 when they were newly adopted and we had all the due process, public hearings, and proper adoption by the city council," said Fillingame. "If for some reason we find that it wasn't published, we're going to publish it. And in fact, probably just in an overabundance of caution, we're going to publish it anyway."

Fillingame says the zoning ordinances will likely be published by Saturday.

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