Underground Club

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 25, 2011

Owner halts plan at ‘Underground’club

By Billy Davis

Panola County’s land commission was wrestling with a permit request to reopen a controversial nightclub when the owner abruptly withdrew his applicant.

Randy Douglas, of Southaven, was seeking a special exception permit to operate his club Underground on Rock Hill Road north of Batesville.

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Underground was shut down, and Douglas was arrested for code violations, on October 1 when a sheriff’s deputy and a county code enforcement official showed up near midnight during a party.

The land commission heard Douglas’s permit request at a Nov. 10 meeting in Batesville.  

During a public hearing Douglas announced he was withdrawing his application after a neighbor, Edward Dickson, told commissioners he opposed the club’s operation directly across from his home.

Dickson, a Panola sheriff’s deputy, was in uniform when he described the noise of late-night music and constant streams of traffic.

“It’s at the end of my driveway,” Dickson said of the club. “Nobody wants that right across from their home.”

Other neighbors are also unhappy with the club, Dickson said, though commissioners noted that no one else had come to protest at the hearing.  

Dickson also confirmed he arrested Douglas that night when he accompanied code inspector Michael Purdy.

 After Douglas heard Dickson’s objections, the club owner announced he was withdrawing the permit request. Then he shook hands with the sheriff’s deputy.

“Well,” announced commission chairman Danny Walker, “I guess that takes care of that.”

Before the withdrawal, an attorney who accompanied Douglas told commissioners they would have better control of the club if a permit was granted for its operation.

Douglas told the land commission he was awarded money from an on-the-job injury and had “invested” a portion of the funds in the club.

Douglas also said he invites friends and family to the parties at Underground and is not operating a business.

“He was charging seven dollars a person the night we showed up,” Purdy told the land commission.

Diane Stewart, the county’s permit clerk, held up a photo that showed a cash register inside the club.
“That wasn’t working when that picture was taken,” Douglas told her.