By Billy Davis
Panola County’s land commission has approved “phase one” of a gravel excavation plan on Central Academy Road, where trucks are expected to haul 5,000 cubic yards to Superior Asphalt located north of Batesville.
The first phase is considered a small operation on four acres that would require approximately 50 loads, said permit applicant Preston Lawrence.
Lawrence appeared before the commission January 14 in Batesville along with Brad Lewis, a representative of Superior.
The land commission learned from Lawrence and Lewis that Superior will use the “phase one” materials at the coming asphalt plant. The plant is under construction along Hwy 35 North near Interstate 55.
The quality of the gravel will determine if a phase two is required on an additional 52 acres, Lewis told the land commission.
“We’re really looking at both phases at this time,” Lewis clarified at one point, when commissioners, talking among themselves, raised questions about future plans.
To haul materials to Superior, trucks will travel eight-tenths of a mile from Central Academy to Cold Springs, then travel 3.4 miles to Highway 35, said county engineer Larry Britt.
Britt informed the land commission that neither Central Academy nor Cold Springs roads are rated to handle 80,000-pound loads of gravel. But he noted that the first phase would be done quickly.
“It won’t take that long to haul 5,000 yards,” Britt said. “You’ve got a different situation in phase two.”
The county engineer suggested the Board of Supervisors may require a road bond from Superior if phase two is approved in coming months. Several supervisors were present for the public hearing.
Lewis suggested that Superior would be willing to improve roadways for gravel hauling.
The land commission approved the four-acre gravel mining to operate seven days a week and required trucks to cease operating during “school bus times,” when the school buses are transporting children.
In other land commission business:
•A sporting clays facility was approved at a shooting club operated by DeSoto Rifle and Pistol Club.
A spokesman for the Pistol Club said the facility on Compress Road near Como recently purchased 25 additional acres and wants to add sporting clays.
The permit application was unanimously approved.
Club spokesman Ross Ose said the club has grown to 634 members and is the biggest pistol and rifle range in Mississippi.
During the public hearing, Supervisor James Birge told commissioners that he often hears noise complaints about gunfire at the club.