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Warr Bends Rules Again
Gravel for Driveway Prohibited by City Ordnances

by Keith Burton - GCN  7/25/08

Gulfport's "Make it Happen" Mayor Brent Warr is again bending the rules regarding the construction and remodeling of his palatial columned home that is nearing completion on the service drive just off of Beach Boulevard. This time it is the large circular driveway to the home.

Gulfport city ordinances require that all driveways be paved. But contractors have poured gravel instead. Gravel is unsuitable as it can gouge asphalt road surfaces and be picked up then shot from spinning tires, particularly a hazardous situation for drivers along the nearby beach highway.

According to a city code official contacted by GCN, gravel driveways are not permitted within city limits for single family homes. Driveways must be paved, either with concrete or asphalt.

This is not the first time that Warr has bent the law on his home. Earlier this year, GCN reported that Warr had not paid building permit fees on the home. He later did so only after GCN noted the incident. Warr also received a state Homeowner Grant for the home, which he had never moved his family into, a requirement of the grant program.

While some people may say the driveway is just quibbling over minor matters, that is not the case. City building codes and ordinances have the weight of law and most people are required to abide by them. A city that fails to enforce its building code could jeopardize its standing in lawsuits by developers. It also places in jeopardy a city's ability to receive building grants from the state and federal government as well as increase property owner insurance rates. For a public official with the title of Mayor, not to follow the law is revealing and unfortunate.

The house that Warr has been remodeling for nearly a year was purchased from the Armed Forces Retirement Home in 2003. The home was once much more modest than it appears now. It didn't have columns and it was in need of updating. Hurricane Katrina also took out most of the first floor. While Warr and his family have not lived in the home prior to the hurricane, there was some work reportedly done on the property before the hurricane and Warr insists that he has intended to move into the home since its purchase.

More Information:

Paving Ordinance: From the Gulfport City Code...

Appendex A: Section 6 A2 Section 4d 8
(2)   Size and location.  Each off-street parking space, which shall be at least nine (9) feet wide and eighteen (18) feet long, exclusive of access or maneuvering area, ramps and other appurtenances, shall be located off the street right-of-way, and except for one-family and two-family dwellings, facilities shall be so planned that vehicles do not back into the roadway. All required spaces and access thereto must be paved. 

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