Prestige Oysters can operate a marina in Hancock County, state Supreme Court says

Justices affirm Hancock County Circuit Court decision

The Mississippi state Supreme Court on Thursday agreed with a lower court that Prestige Oysters was wrongly denied an application to use land zoned C-4 as a marina.

Tazz Halili Trust, doing business as Prestige Oysters, in 2015 bought property in Hancock County to unload oysters from boats and ship them to Louisiana for processing.

The land in question already was zoned C-4, which allows for a marina. In 2018, Prestige applied to Planning and Zoning for site plan approval for a marina, which would include docking and servicing of boats and loading and unloading of goods, material and seafood from those boats.

In its application to Planning and Zoning, which was approved, included photographs and descriptions of surrounding areas and businesses including Bayou Caddy Seafood, Pincher’s Seafood, Bayou Caddy Marina and Cure’s Back Bay Marina.

After a recommendation for approval from Planning and Zoning, the application moved on to the Board of Supervisors, who met in January 2019, February, 4, 2019 and February 19, s2019, the board denied the application, relying on a section of the Mississippi Code regarding a state licensing statute that defined shipping the oysters from the dock and processing and therefore made it a processing site if approved.

Prestige Oysters appealed to Hancock County Circuit Court, which overturned the Supervisors’ decision on February 24, 2020, saying that “none of the evidence submitted supports any conclusion that the property in question was to be used for seafood processing.”

The Board of Supervisors appealed the Circuit Court decision, which was affirmed by the justices, who said in conclusion:

“Since the Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by a substantial evidentiary basis, we affirm the circuit court’s decision to reverse and render the Board’s
decision to deny the Trust’s application to operate a marina in Zone C-4.”

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