Ocean Springs Mayor Vetoes Demolition Permit - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ocean Springs Mayor Vetoes Demolition Permit

The trustee of a well known home in East Ocean Springs is still trying to get a demolition permit to tear the aging structure down.

The estate is called Del Castle, but locals know it as the Al Capone house.

Local legend and lore says Capone considered Del Castle his Southern hideaway. Stories are told of the infamous gangster running bootleg whiskey there.

But it's the more the architecture than the stories that's prompted preservation proponents to try and save Del Castle.

"We have so few historic buildings left. And I would hate to see it go," said architect Sonya Cowart, who serves on the historic preservation commission which recommended the board of aldermen deny the requested demolition permit.

"It is an excellent example of the style of that period, as well as being of the Spanish mission style of architecture. It's also a stucco building in excellent condition," she said.

The city board of aldermen voted 4-to-3 Tuesday night to grant the demolition permit. But the mayor vetoed that action, keeping some hope alive for saving the structure.

"There might be a little bit of hope. I certainly wanted to try. It's a beautiful home. We would love to be able to save it. Certainly it is his property and he needs to be satisfied with the outcome," said Mayor Connie Moran.

Mayor Moran plans on meeting with the owner to see if there's any chance of saving the structure.

Property caretaker, Bruce Legate, has been trying to get a demolition permit for more than a year. He declined to go on camera for this story, and referred us to his lawyer. Attorney Robert O'Dell told WLOX News he doesn't believe the city has any legal authority to deny his client the demolition permit.

"This property is not a landmark site. It's not a landmark. And it's not in a historic preservation district. And I don't believe the act provides for any jurisdiction over it."

Legate could challenge the permit denial in court.

By Steve Phillips

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