By The Associated Press
Gulfport, MS (October 28, 2009)- Gulfport will start an environmental court next week to deal with derelict properties, tree ordinance violations, vandalism, building- and fire-code violations and other issues. Mayor George Schloegel plans to ask the city council next week to appoint attorney Richard J. Smith to hear environmental cases.
Chief of Code Enforcement Rick Ryan would serve as the point person for inspections and resident complaints that could result in environmental cases.
Schloegel said the city needs the court because aesthetic issues often receive less attention than they deserve under the current structure. Gulfport is joining a trend toward municipal environmental courts. Hattiesburg and Biloxi operate environmental courts.