Asphalt Plant

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 7, 2012

Rezoning approved for asphalt plant

By John Howell

Batesville aldermen on Tuesday approved a rezoning request that will allow construction of a Superior Asphalt Inc. plant south of Highway 35 at Buckhorn Road and east of I-55.

Attorney Ryan Revere with the Smith Phillips firm represented landowner North Batesville Realty Corporation in requesting the zoning of 38 acres to I-2 zoning classification, which will allow 16 acres of the tract to be sold for the asphalt plant’s construction.

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During the hearing, Revere said that Smith Phillips partner Richard “Flip” Phillips has an interest in North Batesville Realty Corporation.

Superior Asphalt, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Yates Companies and presently operates two permanent asphalt manufacturing sites and one portable site, according to its web site. The Batesville facility will provide a second portable site.

Superior Asphalt Vice-President Dan Linley and Project Manager Brad Lewis attended the hearing.

A condition of the plant’s location in Batesville has been the construction of a natural gas pipeline to provide fuel for asphalt production.

In August, aldermen voted to hire Jimmy G. Gouras, Urban Planning Consultants, Inc. to seek a $125,000 Development Infrastructure Program (DIP) Grant through the Mississippi Development Authority.

The grant would help offset the cost of the pipeline construction, estimated at $200,000. The city and the Panola Partnership will split the remaining $75,000 cost.

Dugger raises ‘condition’

During Tuesday’s public hearing, Alderman Bill Dugger asked if a condition of the rezoning could include a requirement that Superior Asphalt continue to use the city’s natural gas as its fuel source for “some time, whatever would be reasonable and appropriate.”

“We’re going to use an awfully high volume of gas,” Linley said. “You should recover your investment within the first year-and-a-half without any problem.”

Linley told Dugger that his company would have no problem committing to an extended period of gas use, “presuming that the price was competitive with the general area around here. I don’t want to say I’m going to do that …”

“And then us raise it up,” Dugger quipped, finishing Linley’s statement and prompting a round of laughter in the meeting room.

After further discussion, city officials and Linley agreed to sign an 18-month utility agreement during which the company would agree to a certain volume of gas use.

The rezoning request was approved by unanimous vote.

New restaurant on Armstrong

Also approved was a request from Juanita Manley for rezoning at 304 Armstrong Street. City Code Administrator Pam Comer told aldermen that the planning commission recommended approval of the rezoning request, having found that other restaurants in the neighborhood had closed. “There is a public need,” Comer said.

The location had formerly housed a restaurant, but it has been closed for more than a year, prompting the need for the rezoning. Manley and her husband, former Batesville alderman Rufus Manley, will open the new restaurant there. Aldermen approved the request on the condition that the property operate only as a restaurant.

Aldermen also approved a conditional use permit that will allow C-Spire to construct a 250-foot cell phone tower at 325A Brewer Road. The tower’s construction will require no guy wires, said attorney John Wade, who represented C-Spire at the hearing. Construction will improve cell phone coverage along Interstate 55, Wade said.

Property, code matters

In other city property and code office matters:

•    Aldermen set October 2 as the public hearing date for variance requests for the Evangelistic Outreach Deliverance Ministry (EODM) at 125 Martinez Street and for Big Delta Honda at 155 Cracker Barrel Drive. EODM is seeking a variance that would allow the property’s use as a group home. Big Delta seeks a setback variance for construction, Comer said;

•    The subdivision plat for Lot 1, Medical Center Addition Subdivision was approved. The plat is the property that the city is preparing to sell to Tri-Lakes Medical Center for construction of medical offices and ancillary facilities;

•    Aldermen assessed a $1,600 cost and penalty for cleanup at 206 Miller;

•    Aldermen voted to shut off water service to Stage Coach Gap Trailer Park for non-payment. Assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell said that notices had been delivered to Coltaire Properties and to Coltaire spokesman Kirk Willingham who has appeared before city officials several times this year to discuss problems at the park.

Aldermen voted in April to place one master water meter to serve the entire trailer park after having problems with collections and connections for individual meters.

Alderman Eddie Nabors said that before water was cut off, water department employees should determine if any residents had exceptional health issues.

Alderman Stan Harrison said that he wanted cut-off notices to be hand-delivered to each residence in the trailer park.