Historic Preservation Commission

Bay St. Louis is the #1 Fastest Growing City in the state!  In part because of our lovely historic district!

For decades, Bay St. Louis has been one of the most beloved places on the Gulf Coast.  Both commercial and residential real estate is prized, with historic Old Town values consistently among the highest in the state.

What makes Bay St. Louis so special?  

Residents and business owners have always understood that “The Bay” offers a one-of-a-kind sense of place.  Our coastal setting, our two-lane beach road, our historic properties – ranging from cottages to landmarks – make us unique in all the South.

They call this sense of place “community character” and ours is completely authentic.

Other places – mostly new, exclusive communities and neighborhoods – try to copy the type of ambiance we have naturally.  They should be so lucky.

Most property owners in Old Town have taken on stewardship of our community treasures as a happy responsibility. In 2007, an overwhelming majority of property owners (4-1 ratio) in the proposed Bay St. Louis historic district approved the creation of a formal district.  Then the city council unanimously passed the ordinance into law, creating the district.  The city’s first Historic Preservation Commission was appointed.

The council appoints volunteers to serve on the Historic Preservation Commission.  The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is similar to the Planning and Zoning Commission – it serves as a recommending body to the City Council.   The Commission offers guidance to both restoration projects and new construction within the district, by helping buildings be compatible with the character of Bay St. Louis.

Cliff Rabalais – President
Jane Kulpeksa
Stephan Haas
Matt Stieffel
John Bezou


Jeremy Burke
City Hall
688 Highway 90


Preservation Ordinance
HPC Application
HPC Submittal Check List

History of the Bay St. Louis Historic Ordinance

  Bay St. Louis lost over 600 historic structures during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The losses continued long after the storm passed as dozens of irreplaceable historic buildings that could have been saved were bulldozed because of “expediency” and economic hardship.

Recognizing the importance of preserving the surviving historic building stock for future generations, The Bay St. Louis City Council (encouraged by the majority of property owners in the district who “voted”) voted unanimously to pass a “Historic Enabling Ordinance” on April 3rd, 2007.

Studies have proven repeatedly that cities with historic districts attract more tourists, residents and new businesses than those without one. A historic district
can also increase property values throughout an entire city, protect heritage
and stimulate local economy. The council vote in April 2007  was the first step in
the process of creating a district. Here are the steps that followed:

1.  On April 7th, the city placed an ad in the paper of record (The Sea Coast Echo), asking for volunteers to serve on the Commission. The ad ran for three weeks. Applications to serve on the Commission were also available at the City Council chambers.

2. The Council reviewed the submitted resumes and chose a Commission comprised of nine members, all of who will serve as appointees of the Council.

3. The Commission worked with representatives of the Mississippi
Department of Archives and History (at no cost to the city) to recommend
proposed boundaries for the district.

4. The City Council decided that in Bay St. Louis, residents within the proposed district should be able to vote on the matter. The Commission contacted all property owners within the proposed district by mail – each parcel of land was entitled to one vote.

5. When the district passed this “voting” phase (in which overwhelmingly approved the formation of the district), the proposal went back to the council for their approval. The city then advertised in the local paper for three weeks. Within seven days of the last ad, the city held public meetings on the formation of the district.

6. At the conclusion of these public meetings, the council voted unanimously to
form the district.

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