Eureka Gravel 12/7/12

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2012

County permit sought again for Eureka gravel

By Billy Davis

A stretch of property along Eureka Road, the topic of a zoning debate three years ago, is again being proposed for mining sand and gravel, and for operating a hot mix plant.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

RockCo Mining, LLC is applying for the special exception permit from Panola County government according to a filing with the land development commission.

The permit request was filed by Dr. Mike Havens, a longtime Batesville physician.

The permit request and a 6 p.m. public hearing will be held Monday night, December 10, in Sardis.

A special exception permit allows commercial activity in an area zoned for agriculture. Most business owners choose to request a special exception from the county, since it does not require reclassification.

Memphis Stone and Gravel sought ownership of the 200-acre property in 2009 and worked with a previous property owner to win a county permit.

The land commission turned down the request and supervisors split their votes 2-2 during an appeal, after former supervisor Bubba Waldrup recused himself.

Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure later ruled the land commission’s decision was valid since supervisors did not reach a decision. The land commission has the authority to rule on special exceptions.

An attorney for Memphis Stone had argued the commission should have considered six zoning criteria but McClure, citing previous case law, ruled the commission can consider any of the criteria to reach a decision, such as changes to the neighborhood and traffic hazards.

The judge also ruled that Supervisor Kelly Morris was not required to recuse himself from the vote, since Morris did not have a financial stake in the decision.
Memphis Stone had drilled Morris’s land for gravel and the planned gravel truck route passed by his home on Good Hope Road.

The planned mining operation split members of the Eureka community. Some argued for property rights and accused opponents of jealousy, while opponents voiced concerns for public safety and truck traffic, and the noise and nuisance of a light industry.

Memphis Stone claimed the property holds some of the best gravel in Panola County.

Havens is the sole officer of RockCo Mining according to his corporate filing with the Mississippi Secretary of State. The corporation was formed in July.