SP TIGERS 12/7/12

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 7, 2012

SP Tigers honored by city

By John Howell Sr.

Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey opened Tuesday’s meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen by reading a proclamation declaring Dec. 4 “South Panola Tiger Football — 10th State Championship Day,” citing “the recognition that they have earned and the publicity that has been brought to our city and community by their inspired teamwork.”

South Panola head coach Lance Pogue, with the substantial trophy on display, accepted on behalf of the team and responded with remarks that are printed in their entirety on page A5.

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The city officials set a special meeting for Monday, Dec. 10 to hear two appeals from businesses whose plans have been interpreted to counter to city codes.

The mayor and aldermen expect to hear a representative from LoanMax, a regional title loans company renovating the former Wendy’s/Arby’s building on Highway 6 near the Highway 51 intersection.

The Batesville Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny the firm’s proposed paint color for the exterior of the building. A representative of Big Delta Honda is also expected to appeal a fire code requirement that stipulates placement of fire sprinklers in an existing area of the building with additional square footage planned for construction.

“You’re the de facto appeals board because there is nobody else to hear it but y’all,” Assistant City Attorney Colmon Mitchell told the mayor and aldermen Tuesday. Aldermen voted unanimously to serve as the appeals board for decisions by city departments and also to suspend qualifications listed in code regulations for appeals board members.

“It’s going to come back here anyway,” Alderman Eddie Nabors said.

The three-hour meeting covered myriad areas of city services and issues including:
•   the termination of a police department employee. The mayor and aldermen met with police administrative officials during executive session and then voted unanimously for the termination;
•   the hiring of an employee for the water and sewer department, also discussed during executive session and unanimously approved;
•   approval of a change order that will allow widening of an area of Tubbs Road at its intersection with Martin Luther King Street. The construction will come as part of a drainage improvements project currently under way on Tubbs. Tubbs will be widened to prevent forcing traffic entering Tubbs from MLK into the lane of oncoming traffic;
•   improvements to electrical access in certain public areas of the downtown Square. Those improvements could be made with the anticipated widening of the entrance to the Square at Eureka Street or with a grant-funded downtown renovation that is in the planning stages.
Aldermen Eddie Nabors and Stan Harrison and the mayor will meet with a representative of Batesville Main Street for further discussion;
•   approval of variance requests during public hearings, one from Bobby Walton for a setback variance at 107 Patton Lane and one from First Baptist Church to allow a sign with digital messaging.

Aldermen also approved a rezoning request from Billy Helms for his property on Panola Avenue from R-7 to C-2.

“Looks like they’re planning to reopen the laundromat and the retail convenience store,” said Code Office spokesman Andy Berryhill, who presented the variance and rezoning requests during the hearing.

“Well good,” the mayor said. “Looks terrible empty.”