City Board

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

BBQ trailer squeaks, new apartments coast past Batesville leaders

By John Howell Sr.

The downtown Batesville Square will soon see another facelift with the remodeling of the upper story of the corner building which houses Dale Copeland, Jeweler.

Batesville aldermen on Tuesday, June 3,  approved Boyce Crowell’s request to renovate the space to create two apartments. Crowell appeared at a public hearing during the meeting of the mayor and aldermen to describe his project and answer questions.

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“The apartments will have central heat and air, have monitored burglar and fire alarm systems, be wired for computer access and cable television,” Crowell stated in a letter about the apartments. Each will contain approximately 1,000 square feet of living space he said.

There were no objections to Crowell’s proposal, and aldermen unanimously approved his request. The Batesville Planning Commission had recommended approval, City Code Office Administrator Pam Comer told aldermen.

Crowell’s request cited the successful development of apartments on the downtown square by Gaines Baker and Helen Kelly.

The June 3 public hearings also included a variance request from Kelly for approval to construct a 42-inch-deep, 22-feet wide octagonal pool on property that also includes Kelly’s One Stop on Highway 35. The pool will be used in conjunction with a private recreation club and its depth is ideal for water volleyball, she said.

Kelly’s request also came with a recommendation for approval by the planning commission. After extensive questioning from aldermen, it was also unanimously approved.

“You know what we did with the building downtown,” the developer said, referring to the combination office/apartment building which bears her name and anchors one side of the square.

Aldermen split 3 to 2 on a request to allow Two To Tango, LLC to place a temporary sales trailer on Highway 6 East at Guaranty Bank.

Terry Downs appeared at the hearing seeking the aldermen’s approval for his mobile barbecue operation. The planning commission had recommended the request be denied, Comer told aldermen.

Downs said his business would sell barbecue two days each week at the location.

“Have you looked into putting in a permanent building?” Ward 3 Alderman Stan Harrison asked.

“Yes, but … still there’s a need,” Downs said of the temporary location. The Tango owner cited weekend vendors who often set up in temporary locations along Highway 6 East.

“They’re not being held to the same standards that I’m being held to,” Downs said, citing his business license, health inspection and insurance.

Harrison cautioned about the pending growth plan under development by Mendrop Wages Engineering, the planning commission and city officials.

“I just want Highway 6 to look good and when people drive through here I want it to look first class,” Harrison said.

Alderman-at-Large Teddy Morrow said the Tango’s proposal was “different from used cars” routinely offered for sale in the parking lots of Highway 6 businesses.

“I’m in favor of going along with the planning commission,” Ward 1 Alderman Bill Dugger said.

Ward 2 Alderman Rufus Manley offered a motion that he said was a compromise: Allow the trailer to operate there for one year while Tango’s establishes a permanent site.

Morrow, Manley and Ward Four Alderman Bobbie Jean Pounders voted to approve Tango’s request; Harrison and Dugger voted against it.

Aldermen unanimously approved James Bryant’s request to be allowed to continue his operation of Bryant Shaved Ice at Panola Plaza Shopping Center. His request came with the recommendation by the planning commission that it be approved.

“We’ve not had any complaint on him or his business through our office,?? Comer told the mayor and aldermen.

In other business:

•Builder Charlie Sanders asked for help to promote the home grants available to qualified recipients in Batesville. Sanders administers a program which will allow a grant of up to $25,000 toward the construction of a new home. He asked if the city could print grant availability information on the back of utility bills;

•Plans are moving forward for Batesville’s second annual Fourth of July Celebration at the civic center.

“I can’t think of anything we’ve done that’s been as successful,” Pounders said.

“It was a winner,” said Harrison.

“No coolers, no pets,” said Manley, who asked for the prohibition to be extensively publicized to avoid inconveniencing those who attend.

•Aldermen approved Police Chief Tony Jones’ request on behalf of two employees of his department who seek outside, part-time employment;

•Aldermen also approved the police chief’s request that he and Police Department Captain Jimmy McCloud be allowed to accompany Patrolman Gray Nickels to the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Association’s Convention on the coast. Nichols is expected to be recognized at the statewide organization’s “Officer of the Year,” Jones said;

•Assistant Civic Center Director John Ard received a salary increase of $100 monthly at the completion of his period of probationary employment;