- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) - Jackson County leaders are looking for ways to deal with 200 cement slabs left by Hurricane Katrina’s surge 10 years ago.

County Planning Director Michele Coats told The Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/1TiHyNN ) 300 property owners removed their slabs with the help of a government program five years ago.

The Planning Department will now work to have landowners outside the county’s four cities to get rid of the slabs.

Supervisor John McKay said Monday that the slabs are hurting property values in neighborhoods like St. Andrews, Ocean Beach Estates and Gulf Park Estates in his district, east of Ocean Springs.

Coats said there also are some in Porteaux Bay and old St. Martin.

She said many of the ones left are on property where the owners no longer live in the area.

McKay suggested the slabs might be considered a danger to public health and asked Coats if there was anything she could do to force slab removal.

Coats said she is looking into the use of existing laws that might allow the county to have the cost of removal attached to the property as a type of lien.

County leaders said using a menace-to-public-health law might not work because there is no eminent health danger, even though McKay said, “they’re presenting a hazard in my opinion.”

Using the health danger law is also a lengthy process, where the county sends warning letters and then gives landowners time to respond.

“But we have to start somewhere,” McKay said, “or we’ll never get them cleaned up.”

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