BILOXI, Mississippi (AP) – A Mississippi County court has dismissed a lawsuit to block construction of a public jetty in Biloxi, ruling that the city had the right to build the jetty without a lease from the Secretary of State .
The secretary of state’s office had pursued a Biloxi and Harrison County plan to lease the property to RW Development for the construction of a municipal jetty for public use, saying the town needed a lease of tidelands. The county judge’s ruling on Monday said municipal piers and ports have been built in Biloxi for decades without requiring a lease from tidelands.
“This is exceptional news for Biloxi and all the towns and counties on the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich said. “It’s about public access and waterfront enjoyment, and cities and counties have been building piers, harbors and other waterfront amenities for over a hundred years.”
A public jetty stood on the site of Veterans Avenue for years before it was destroyed by a hurricane.
RW Development plans to finalize the jetty design and begin the licensing process with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. The terms of the lease between RW and the city and county state that the company is responsible for the construction and maintenance of the public jetty.
“We knew what we were doing was within our rights, and now it’s time to move on,” Gilich said.