Wave-Land Dispute

The owners of two lots located next the new City Hall construction site in Waveland aren’t happy with the fact that their property is being used as storage for dirt and construction equipment.

“They are storing their equipment and a 30-foot-tall pile of dirt on our lots,” Deidra Edwards, owner of the property, said yesterday. “Not only have they not asked permission, they have repeatedly ignored us, even after we sent them a lease agreement. It started in March and we still don’t have a lease agreement and nobody has made us an offer. Nothing.”

According to Edwards, a New Orleans resident, she and her husband, Christopher, purchased the lots located at 106 and 108 S. Bourgeois Street, just off Coleman Avenue, after Hurricane Katrina. When construction began on the new City Hall, Edwards offered the city of Waveland a lease for the property and asked for a Hold Harmless agreement, which would protect the property owners if an accident or injury occurred on the property.

“What if someone broke their leg or fell into a hole?” Edwards said. “We would be responsible, even though no one ever sought our permission to use the lots.”

Neither a lease agreement nor the Hold Harmless agreement were signed by the city. Instead, construction crews continued to use the property as storage.

According to Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo, he was under the impression the property was being purchased for city use.

“From what I’ve been told we are in the process of purchasing the property,” Longo said yesyerday. “We have three buildings going up there, so off-street parking is going to be needed, and I was told by our consultants that they had contacted the lady that had those two lots and they had been approved by MBA.”

Edwards said she was contacted by Jimmy G. Gouras Consultants, Inc. about selling the property, but the two sides are still very early in the process.

“There are several steps, including a soil study and background check that need to be done, but the only thing we’ve done is given them permission to step into the lot to do the studies needed, including an environmental study,” she said. “How in the world can they do an environmental study when there’s 30 feet of dirt that came from somewhere else?

“If they’re looking to buy the property, then that’s really nice,” Edwards said. “But in the meantime they need to rent it from us. We aren’t trying to stir anything up, we just want them to go about doing this the right way.”

BY: Joshua Clark

The Sea Coast Echo

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