Neighbors Don't Welcome Junked Cars

The homes on River Estates Circle took a hard hit from Hurricane Katrina and are in various stages of repair. When damaged cars began showing up a week ago on the 80 acres across the street, the citizens couldn't believe it.

"Our neighborhood was hit very hard by the storm and we've all been working every day trying to get everything cleaned up and rebuild and everything. So it was just such a slap in the face to us," Joy Bissonnette says.

Her neighbor Harry Sanders says, "I think we have issues here with an eyesore here. We're trying to clean the neighborhood up to get back to normal and this is what we've got to look at."

Biloxi's Community Development Director says that's true for the next eight months. The city gave a permit to Alter Trading Corporation to put the cars on the property.

"He did receive a permit to use this as a temporary holding facility for vehicles to allow owners to come in and reclaim their vehicles that were lost or damaged during Hurricane Katrina," says Jerry Creel.

Creel says the permit has conditions.

"We tried to be as sensitive to the neighbors as we can and make sure the vehicles will be located to the south part of the property as far away from the residences as possible. Once the vehicles have been placed in the location they're going to be in, he will put up a solid fence across there," Creel says.

But that's little consolation to the residents who say the field floods with just one or two inches of rain.

"In eight months it's going to be September and we still have the problem of them floating. And if we get rid of our debris, we have to worry about his debris and the cars hitting our houses," says Kathie Anderson.

Creel says vacant land is in short supply in Biloxi and the car graveyard needs to go somewhere. But those on the storm battered street wish it was somewhere else.

Kirk Polk is a supervisor with Alter Trading Company. He told us he's sorry the neighbors have concerns but he's trying to give the vehicle owners a chance to get them back.

Polk says although his permit allows the operation for eight months, he expects to close the site within three or four months.