Pascagoula Residents Worry About Rebuilding Their Homes

Since Hurricane Katrina, Jimmy McGrath spends his off time trying to get his King Avenue home ready to repair.

"Tried to treat all of the wood, so any mold would be killed instantly," McGrath says,"Just trying to clean up."

Repairing his home has been put on hold, though.

McGrath says getting a permit in the Chipley neighborhood is virtually impossible.

"No one wants to fool with this area," McGrath says,"It's like a jaded area right here."

Pascagoula city building inspector Steve Mitchell says most of the homes in Chipley are below the base flood elevation.

In order for residents to get a building permit, they either have to raise their current home, relocate it to higher ground, or demolish it and build a new home higher than the base flood elevation.

"No, it doesn't need to be demolished. There's no structural damage in this house at all," McGrath says.

What about raising it up?

"I'm not a millionaire. I can't afford to come in here and elevate this entire neighborhood," He adds.

McGrath says the rumor going around is the city has placed more restrictions on homeowners in Chipley so they won't rebuild.

"I keep hearing that even if we do rebuild our house, it's subject to being taken away from us,"McGrath says.

Steve Mitchell says that's not true.

"Target this area? No we're not," Mitchell responds,"We have an area on the other side of town that is essentially in the same condition."

The city, he says, is just following the rules.

"It's rules we have to follow to participate in the national flood insurance program," Mitchell adds.

Mitchell would like to see Chipley revitalized.

"We would love to see a private partnership between the homeowners and different developers to try to accomplish the goals of the charette," Mitchell says.

The city, Mitchell says, isn't pushing for any one solution, but it cannot let homeowners rebuild to the old standards.