| By Billy Davis
Panola County supervisors suggested and approved several requirements for a scrap metal business at their "second Monday" meeting, learning also from their board attorney that the appeal they approved November 27 is likely headed to court.
Supervisors learned from board attorney Bill McKenzie that Panola County farmer Lent Thomas is the "main objector" in a legal document, a a bill of exception, that was filed last week against the county.
"It looks like we’re headed to circuit court," McKenzie told the board.
In a bill of exception, an attorney files a listing of exceptions to a decision in preparation for an appearance in court.
Thomas was among several Chapeltown residents who voiced disapproval at supervisors’ meetings in November about a proposed scrap metal business owned by Chris Aldridge and his company, Aldridge Enterprises.
McKenzie told the board that court documents show Thomas has hired a DeSoto County attorney. The board attorney did not say if anyone had joined Thomas in the suit against the county.
Supervisors made no comment about the matter, which is the second time in two years that an appeal before supervisors has gone to court.
A ruling is pending from the Miss. Court of Appeals after Dr. Mike Cockrell’s appeal was turned down by supervisors in favor of Martin Bros. Scrap Metal of Sardis. Cockrell lost his appeal in circuit court and appealed to the state court.
The board of supervisors backed the county land development commission, which approved Martin Bros. in that matter, and overruled the land commission when it approved Aldridge’s business last month.
Regarding the requirements, supervisors voted to require Aldridge to fence his business in 90 days, forbid parking on the public right-of-way on Chapeltown Road, and operate his business from
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
After approving Aldridge’s business, supervisors could have either set requirements or sent the matter back to the members of the land commission.
District 5 Supervisor Bubba Waldrup suggested that Aldridge have 90 days to add fencing to the south and west property lines in order to dissuade thieves from entering the property. Some fencing already surrounds the site.
"They would have free access otherwise," Waldrup said.
McKenzie asked supervisors if Aldridge was obligated to keep materials inside a building on the property, a proposal the business owner had suggested in recent weeks, but supervisors Robert Avant and Jerry Perkins said Aldridge had promised only to keep the property clean and neat.
"He will have cardboard boxes inside the building," Avant replied.
The five-acre site formerly operated as a concrete plant, and Chapeltown residents cited the unsightly plant as a main reason for objecting to Aldridge’s scrap metal business.