Headlines Cont. – 5/5/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 5, 2006

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – May 5, 2006


Car repair shop gets city’s okay if no work done outside building
Batesville city officials approved a conditional use permit but turned down a request for a zoning variance following public hearings during the Tuesday, May 2 meeting of the board of mayor and aldermen.

Brian Caine got the go-ahead to operate an auto and windshield repair business at 310 Highway 51 North after pointed questioning from the mayor and aldermen.

Chris Brocato’s request to place a mobile home temporarily at 1847 Brewer Road was denied after assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell determined that to allow the variance under protest would violate a city ordinance.

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"Will all of the work be inside?" Ward 4 aldermen Bobbie Jean Pounders asked.

"Yes, ma’am," Caine replied. Caine said that the business will be "mostly mechanic work."

"We don’t want any cars jacked up outside," Pounders said.

"We just had a situation where cars were left outside with hoods up," and partially disassembled," Mayor Jerry Autrey said, describing another automotive enterprise on Highway 51 which had been the source of frequent complaints because of its appearance.

"In the event that you had to leave a car outside, how many do you think you would need?" Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley questioned.

There was no objection to the conditional use voiced during the hearing. Aldermen voted to approve Caine’s request, setting a maximum number of cars which may be left on the premises as one condition. Caine must also perform all mechanic work inside the shop and keep the lot clean as additional conditions.

Bracato’s request to place a mobile home at the Brewer Road address had brought an email and a letter to the city, both voicing objections.

Bracato said that he wanted to place a mobile home at the site for no more than six months to house a man he wanted to employ to clean up the property.

The city attorney’s research found language that prohibited allowing a zoning variance if an objection was raised by someone living within 600 feet of the affected property. Brocato acknowledged that at least one of the people who had raised a written objection lived within the 600 feet.

"If they object and they are within 600 feet, you can’t do it," Mitchell said.

Sardis could tighten up on grease
By Jason C. Mattox

Sardis leaders are considering a proposed ordinance that might get them out of a greasy situation.

Sardis resident Dusty Dettor, serving as a special unpaid consultant to the board, said Mayor Alvis "Rusty" Dye asked for his help with fatty solids and cooking grease in the city’s sewer system.

"As the year has gone along, we have had a tremendous problem with grease in the lift stations, especially north of town on Highway 51," Dye said.

"So, I asked Dusty if he had any suggestions that could help us remedy the problem," the mayor added.

Dettor said the best solution he could come up with was an ordinance that would require restaurants and garages to install an in-ground vat to dump oils and fatty wastes into.

"I have talked with several people in different states," he said. "They all seem to think this might be the only way to ease the trouble you are having.

"Trust me. As much grease as you can get out of the system the better off you will be," Dettor added.

Dettor said the grease build up in the sewer pipes is part of the problem causing the city to constantly replace pumps at lift stations.

"If that grease clogs everything up, it won’t take any time before you will burn up one of those pumps," he said. "It probably doesn’t take more than a day to ruin one."

By requiring restaurants and garages to install a concrete or fiberglass underground vat (at an estimated cost of $1,500 to $2,000) it would lower the number of people who are dumping grease into the sewer.

"We all know that some of the places are either emptying their oils into the sink or down the manholes," Dettor said. "I have seen that first hand.

"With the type of vat this ordinance will require, if they allow it to fill up and clog, it will back up into the facility," he said. "That makes it their problem and not the city’s."

Ward 1 Alderman Joseph "JoJo" Still asked what the city could do if people violated the proposed ordinance.

"How are you going to stop people from dumping it the way they have been?" he asked.

Dettor said the ordinance would allow the city to levy fines, close down the facility in question and even pursue charges through the court system.

"You just let us catch them," Dye said. "Then you will see what we can do."

The proposed ordinance was taken under advisement and will be discussed at a future meeting.

City leaders close to putting breaks
on repair shop
Aldermen to decide fate of Bishop’s business
on May 16
By Jason C. Mattox

A Batesville businessman who is close to losing his conditional use permit will be given a chance to address the board on May 16 before action is taken.

Jimmy Bishop, who owns and operates a garage at 350 Highway 51, appeared before the board at their meeting Tuesday, April 18 for violations of a conditional use permit.

Several city leaders said they noticed a large number of cars around the business as well as work going on outside of the building.

"The permit says he has to do all of the work in the building and can have no more than five cars on his lot at any time," code enforcement officer John McCollum explained.

McCollum was asked to monitor the situation last month and appeared before the aldermen with his report.

He told city leaders during their first meeting in May that Bishop was in compliance with his conditional use permit some days and in violation on others.

"Sometimes I go by there and there’s only four, then there are times he has six to 12 cars outside the business," he said.

Code Enforcement Office Administrator Pam Comer said the business would not face this scrutiny if it was in a C-3 Zone, but due to the conditional use permit in a C-2 Zone he was required to follow rules set forth by the board.

Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger said he felt like Bishop had been given a chance by the board and ignored that opportunity.

"I think sometimes we are soft-hearted people when it comes to variances and conditional use permits, but it just seems to me that this is in the wrong place," he said.

"We gave them several chances to get in compliance, and now it’s time to do something about it," Dugger added.

Dugger told other board members he was ready to revoke the conditional use permit.

"He sat right here last time and told us he was selling cars without a license," he said. "That’s obviously not allowed by his permit."

Dugger did say he would like Bishop to be notified that he would be required to move his business.

"I don’t want to close him immediately, but it is time that we do something about this situation," he said.

Ward 4 Alderwoman Bobbie Jean Pounders suggested closing the business in June.

Mayor Jerry Autrey asked McCollum his thoughts on the matter.

"I am inclined to agree with Mr. Dugger on this matter," he said. "I really think he has been given long enough."

Comer added that if the board continued the conditional use permit, her office should be given permission to levy fines for the violations.

"Right now, we can go talk to him or right him letters, but it really only amounts to a slap on the wrist," she said. "We need to do something about it."

Dugger said there was no need to postpone the inevitable and move forward with revoking the permit.

"I’m saying the damage has already been done," he said. "If he wants to, we can allow him to come in and give us cause to why we should let him continue."

After brief discussion, Dugger’s original motion was withdrawn and replaced with one to address the matter on May 16.

Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell was advised to prepare a letter from the board to Bishop.

"I think a letter from the City Attorney might be the best way to go," Comer said of the decision. "We have sent him letters, and they haven’t done us any good."

Mitchell said the letter would state that a decision on the matter will come at the next board meeting whether Bishop decides to appear or not.

"It needs to be clear that the board will address the matter one way or the other," he said.



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