Permanent MEMA Cottages Still To Be Decided In Biloxi

By Toni Miles - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi City Council is going to take a closer look before voting on whether to allow MEMA cottages to be permanent fixtures in some parts of Biloxi. The Council was set to vote on it Tuesday, but council members will wait at least two more weeks before making a final decision.

"I'm asking the Council to please try to get together and work out something where the people who really need these MEMA cottages can have them," 71-year-old Mary Rose Leahy pleaded with the council.

She hopes she can make her MEMA cottage her permanent home. Councilman Bill Stallworth said there are 88 homeowners in the city who live in the cottages. He hopes his fellow council members will vote to give residents who live in these cottages the option to make them their permanent homestead.

"There have only been about 450 new housing permits that have been issued in the city of Biloxi. However, there were 3,000 homes in East Biloxi that were destroyed. So, I think, this is a viable option," Stallworth said.

Councilman Stallworth said the cottages would be allowed only in those areas where mobile homes are already permitted, and will be approved on a case-by-case basis. But some council members still have unanswered questions.

"If they're going to be allowed in residential areas, if they're going to be allowed to be rented out, are they going to be allowed to be in trailer parks? There's just a multitude of things that we need to discuss and get straightened out," said Ward 7 Councilman David Fayard.

Council members hope to answer those questions at a workshop before voting. Meanwhile, residents like Mary Rose Leahy hope the city will allow her to continue moving forward in her personal storm recovery.

"I don't need a three bedroom, two bath mansion. I need this little cottage to be mine, so I can have a roof over my head. And then I continue on to do what I want to do on my property," Leahy said.

The deadline for moving out of the MEMA cottages is set for March of next year.

Also on Tuesday, the council decided to table a vote on the proposed Bay Village Development because of the legality of a petition signed by residents. The Council is set to vote on both issues August 5.