Public Hearing held in regard to land split 20 ways

Published 7:00 am Thursday, September 20, 2018

A public hearing was held in Poplarville Wednesday morning to discuss what will need to be done with a dilapidated piece of property in the Hillsdale community.

Pearl River County Code Official Kolby Davis said several decades ago, a one-acre piece of property was sliced up and sold off in twenty separate parts. Each part of the property is approximately eight feet wide. An old gas station sits on the property and has been in a dilapidated state for more than ten years.

County Supervisor Hudson Holliday said the property is not only an eye-sore, but is also a public health hazard, since the building is collapsing in on itself and is overrun with rats, roaches and snakes.

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A notice of a public hearing was sent to the land owners of all twenty portions, which described the property as having a, “Dilapidated, abandoned, and falling in building with attached and detached fuel pump canopies that are all unsafe, blighted and causing an unhealthy menace to the public.”

At the hearing only one property owner, Raymond E. Rachal, appeared to make his case. Rachal owns three slices of the property. Rachal said he feels that the city has been harassing him for years, only to do nothing with the property itself. He said he has been charged over the past years for an entire acre worth of taxes, while his property value has simultaneously been declining.

Rachal said he feels that he and the other property owners were scammed when they first purchased the property. Because the property was sold so many years ago, some of the current owners may not even know that they have inherited their portion. Still others have moved away from the area and live across the country, Rachal said. He said because of this, it is unfair to expect everyone to spend money to clean up their section of the land.

Davis said all of Rachal’s grievances will be brought up to the Board of Supervisors during the next scheduled meeting. At that time, a decision will be made on how to move forward with the property.

Holliday said because the parcel is located just off the interstate, it would be a valuable piece of property for a store or gas station. However, at the moment, it’s just an eyesore for the community.

“It’s a sign that tells people ‘don’t stop here.’ I want to clean it up for everyone,” Holliday said.

He said the Board will hopefully start taking steps to clean up the property. Once cleaning has finished, a lean will be placed against the property and it can hopefully be sold to someone who will do something productive with it, he said.

Holliday said there is also an old motel in the Hillsdale community that is in a state of disrepair. He said that is the next cleanup project on his list.