Plaintiffs explain their decision to take Waveland to court

By Al Showers - bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - The plaintiffs in the MEMA cottage battle in Waveland say they had hoped to avoid court action. But after Waveland city leaders made no definite decision on the cottage issue during Wednesday night's Board meeting, the cottage dwellers told attorneys to go to court.

The Kring family is one of the eight plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit who know time is running out on their cottages. The Krings want to purchase their cottage and make it their permanent home.

Waveland resident Cheryl Kring said, "We're in limbo, and we're tried of being in limbo."

The Krings and other cottage dwellers say they're not clear on where the city stands on the issue. Wednesday night, alderman did vote to allow the cottages to stay once cottage guidelines are developed.

"I want to believe that they are being sincere, but on the other hand, it's like I'm waiting on another shoe to drop," Kring said. "They could be guidelines to get us all out of here and none of us qualify."

"I'm still on pause. There's still no decision," said Waveland resident Tommy Fayard. "Like I said, they did make a decision to look at the decision."

Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo says the city is working on the rules for permanent cottages.

Longo said, "The restrictions are going to be at least what MEMA has. I don't want to mislead anyone. By no means is it a blanket allowance of Katrina Cottages."

The mayor says there are many legal questions to consider.

"Some folks maybe in a velocity zone where you can not put a modular home. Some people maybe in an area where they have to elevate them to a height that can not be engineered and certified," Longo said. "Those are the type of details that we have to finalize. The board is committed to getting this done as soon as possible."

Cheryl Kring says that can't happen fast enough.

"I'm scared to leave my house; I'm afraid that if I come back it's gone," Kring said.

After that modular ruling from the state, Waveland city leaders voted this week to have the city attorney draft an ordinance with rules for permanent cottages. But until that is in place, it's unclear how much longer cottages might remain in the city.

Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo told WLOX News he was shocked by the lawsuit and the city is taking steps to allow permanent cottages once the regulations are drawn up. Longo says a court battle will only prolong the process.