- Associated Press - Thursday, August 6, 2015

LONG BEACH, Miss. (AP) - In 30 days, Long Beach residents will have to remove any slabs left behind on their property from Hurricane Katrina.

Mayor Billy Skellie told local media the ordinance was approved by the board of aldermen on Wednesday and takes effect in 30 days.

After that, once property owners are notified, they have to take action immediately to clean up their property of any pre-used, dilapidated, or deteriorated slabs constructed before Hurricane Katrina. Otherwise, the city will be forced to remove the slab.

“We certainly don’t want to have to go and remove people’s property,” Skellie said. “But we will if we have to.”

The ordinance calls for property owners to remove all used, dilapidated or deteriorated slabs in place before Aug. 29, 2005, or the city will be forced to remove it.

Skellie said he understands it can be hard for owners to remove property that was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

“It’s hard to wipe away those memories,” he said. “That’s why we have given people 10 years.”

Alderman Gary Ponthieux said his biggest priority is property along U.S. Highway 90.

“That’s our economic engine,” he said. “The area along the beach should be eye-catching.”

The ordinance says driveways, patios, sidewalks or retaining walls will not be required to be removed.

Property owners, who do not comply with the ordinance within 30 days, could face a $500 fine and an increase on their property taxes.

“This is for the people of Long Beach,” Skellie said. “We have a beautiful city and we need to help show it.”

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