BILOXI, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi county court dismissed a lawsuit aimed at blocking the construction of a public pier in Biloxi, ruling that the city is within its right to build the pier without a lease from the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State’s office had sued over a plan by Biloxi and Harrison county to lease the property to RW Development for construction of a municipal pier for public use, claiming that the town needed a tidelands lease. The county judge’s ruling on Monday stated that municipal piers and harbors have been built in Biloxi for decades without requiring a tidelands lease.
“This is outstanding news for Biloxi and all the cities and counties along the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich said. “This is about public access and enjoyment of the waterfront, and the cities and counties have been building piers, harbors and other amenities on the waterfront for more than a hundred years.”
A public pier had been at the Veterans Avenue site for years before being destroyed by a hurricane.
RW Development plans to finalize the design of the pier and begin the permitting process with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The terms of the lease between RW and the city and county states that the company is responsible for constructing and maintaining the public pier.
“We knew what we were doing was within our rights, and now it’s time to move forward,” Gilich said.