Tag Archives: the shed

The strangest eminent domain case ever

There is an intriguing eminent domain case going on in south Mississippi. It involves a popular, well-known local eatery, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), the local county government and a 100-foot strip of land alongside a highway. The real estate issue is property value, but that is only the beginning.

Let’s begin with a brief, but incomplete factual timeline because there are so many issues with this case.

2001 – The Shed Barbecue and Blues Joint opens on Highway 57 in Jackson County. It becomes popular and well-known outside the county. It even had a season on the Food Network channel.

February 2012 – The Shed destroyed by fire.

2012 – Owners rebuild, but without permits in a special flood-hazard area, and for having unpermitted signs out front, according to county officials.

August 2012 – MDOT files court case to take 100-feet of The Shed’s property to widen Highway 57.

2012 – 2014 – Owners given permission by county to operate as a temporary structure.

July 2014 – County notifies The Shed it is in violation of building code.

April 26, 2016 – Jackson County cites The Shed with building code violations

October 2016 – MDOT case is set to go to trial over taking of strip of land beside roadway. Case had been continued five times. MDOT has said the land is worth less than $200,000. The business owners want more than $1 million for the .43 acre.

November 2016 – A jury sets the value of .4 acres at The Shed at $408,334 that the Mississippi Department of Transportation will have to pay owners. Owners deciding whether to appeal.

In short, there are two cases: An eminent domain case with MDOT and a building permit violation case with the county. One of the main issues in the eminent domain case was how much the business value contributed to the land value. And one argument there is whether a business that may be operating without the proper permits even has any value. Obviously, the jury thought so.

Now for a bit of real estate primer.

Highest and best use is defined as that use that is physically possible, legally permissible, financially feasible and most profitable. These four attributes are the ingredients for determining highest and best use. In this case it could be argued that because The Shed’s use was not legally permissible then the current use is not the highest and best use. It does not mean that it has no value.

Value, as it applies to anything, has for basic components, as represented by the acronym DUST, where D stands for demand, U is for utility, S is for scarcity and T is transferability. For something to have value it must have all four. Demand means that there is a market for the property or the item. There is someone willing to pay for it. Utility refers to that idea that it has some use. For example, a pencil can be used for writing, a refrigerator can store things at a cool temperature and a parcel of real estate can be developed or can be used for other purposes, such as agriculture or recreation. Scarcity means that there is a limited supply available. All real estate parcels are considered scarce because no two are exactly alike if for no other reason than they are physically located in different places. Transferability refers to the concept that title to the property can be conveyed to another party.

There are many different types of value. For example, there is sentimental value, assessed value and insurable value. When valuing real estate, the most common form of value used is market value, which is defined as “The most probable price, as of a specified date, in cash, or in terms equivalent to cash, or in other precisely revealed terms, for which the specified property rights should sell after reasonable exposure in a competitive market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, with the buyer and seller each acting prudently, knowledgeably, and for self-interest, and assuming that neither is under duress.”

It will be interesting to see how these cases are resolved. As mentioned earlier, The Shed is a popular, well-known place. It is a bona-fide tourist attraction. It serves thousands of customers each weeks in a collection of – well – sheds. The owners are involved in the community, and the community is involved in The Shed. After Hurricane Katrina over 50 volunteers helped to rebuild the place. There was some wonderment in the county about whether there could be found twelve impartial jurors.

Now that the eminent case has been before a jury, we now await the county’s building code case. The question being asked: What’s the future of The Shed?

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Dining local on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

First, let’s catch up.  Just over a month I posted a blog about how my wife and I decided to dine out at local restaurants as much as possible.  Since then we have discovered several restaurants that we did not know existed and have dined at some great (and not so great) new ones.  The support for our little adventure has been extremely positive.  My thanks to those of you who have emailed me with your comments. Just to clarify, we make every effort to dine at a local restaurant when we go out for a sit down meal.  So to the person who saw me driving through Wendy’s to pick up something to take home I did not violate the intent of our little project.

And now for our recent dining experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where we spent four days recently.  Our first night’s dinner was at McElroy’s Beachside.  The food was good and the service was exceptional.  What we enjoyed most, however, was sitting outside on the balcony at sunset.  The setting is all Gulf Coast, i.e. on the harbor where the boats go back and forth and the seagulls slowly soar by hoping to get a snack. (NOTE:  don’t feed them.)  I have no raves on the food.  It is just good seafood, but nothing spectacular.  I’ve been there before, and to their location on the Back Bay in Ocean Springs.  Check out the reviews on Urbanspoon.com for more info.

Our second dinner was at the iconic Mary Mahoney’s in Biloxi.    It was established in 1964, but is housed in a building that was constructed in the 1700’s.  There are several private dining rooms, a bar and a courtyard shaded by a beautiful live oak tree.  Everything on the menu is good.  Before your meal, expect a tableside visit from the ever-smiling Bobby Mahoney, who will tell you about the daily specials and tell a few jokes.  It’s a landmark.

Steve’s Marina Restaurant in Long Beach was the venue for our third dinner.  It is another harbor restaurant with floor-to-ceiling plate glass on three walls and a balcony.  Built on piers, the restaurant is upstairs and the downstairs is a breezy, open space used for private parties.  My broiled seafood platter was excellent, as was the service.

By the fourth evening we were ready for something other than seafood.  While taking a late afternoon break at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville a friend suggested we have some local BBQ at The Shed in Ocean Springs.  It’s located just north of the I-10/Hwy 57 exit.  Expect a true Mississippi BBQ and Blues joint.  Imagine dining outside under a metal roof, and surrounded by a junkyard.  It is one funky place.  I walked to the counter – no table service – and ordered a pulled pork plate only to be informed that they were out that day.  I settled on the beef brisket, which turned out to be – yes, I’ll say it with apologies to my Texas friends – the best beef brisket I’ve ever tasted.  The beverage of choice was a cold Abita Strawberry beer.  Sitting there at an outdoor counter overlooking a bayou, savoring a pink/orange sky at dusk and a rising moon through the pine trees while listening to Grayson Capps on the speakers was truly an authentic local dining experience.  Live music acts coming up soon include T-Bone Pruitt, Kipori “Baby Wolf” Woods and the Gary Burnside Band.

Most breakfast and lunch meals were at the convention we were attending, however one day my colleague just had to have a po-boy so at lunch we zipped to Lil Ray’s in Gulfport.  It’s one of those places where the locals go.  They use only fresh LOCAL seafood, and their french bread is delivered daily from New Orleans.  Their motto is “Stop by and Put a lil South in ya mouth!”

Until next time.