Judge, attorney are allies in battle to stop boardwalk

By KAREN NELSON – klnelson@sunherald.com

OCEAN SPRINGS

A Jackson County judge and a well-known Biloxi attorney, who both own property along East Beach, have challenged in court the issue of who controls a certain portion of the beach.

At stake in the case is the city’s plan to build a boardwalk with a $500,000 grant from MDOT. A Hinds County chancery judge is expected to rule on the case by next week. The suit came after the secretary of state gave the city permission to build a 6-foot cement boardwalk along the seawall. Chancery Judge D. Neil Harris and attorney Buddy Gunn took the issue to Hinds County, where the Secretary of State’s Office is located.

Harris and Gunn assert the Secretary of State’s Office broke its own procedures dealing with tidelands when allowing the city to build the boardwalk, calling the decision “arbitrary, unreasonable and capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

They also argued that as landowners they, not the state, have a form of control of the land along the seawall. According to their attorney, they have also filed separate suits in Jackson County Chancery Court to assert ownership, and together they appealed a DMR decision to permit the boardwalk.

Mayor Connie Moran said because of the suit, the city is under a temporary injunction on the boardwalk. The Hinds judge told both sides to submit summaries by Monday and promised a decision by April 23.
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/04/14/2100509/judge-attorney-are-allies-in-battle.html#ixzz0lBc701L6

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