Ag property rezoning recommended for commercial use 11/15/2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 15, 2013

Ag property rezoning recommended for commercial use

By Rupert Howell
Panola County’s land use commissioners will recommend that approximately 20 acres on Highway 6 and Farrish Gravel Company Road west of Batesville be changed from agricultural to commercial property.

Commissioners approved the request of landowner Betty Jane Billingsley who plans to sell the property to Helena Chemical Company.

Ward Bloodworth represented the company at Monday’s meeting as well as the landowner and explained that the company would build a 10,000 sq. ft. warehouse and 2,000 sq. ft. office building at the site.

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Commission enforcement officer Michael Purdy told commissioners that buildings would have to be constructed four feet above the current ground level due to the site being located in a flood plain.

Bloodworth explained that the business would employ seven at the location and sell chemicals and feed, telling commissioners that a “dry fertilizer” plant may be in later plans and assured that no ammonium nitrate would ever be there. (Ammonium nitrate requires additional security as it has been used in the past to make bombs.)

“Chemicals are much safer than they were 20 years ago,” Bloodworth relayed to the board and assured the facility was safe, stating that similar facilities are located near the proposed Highway 6 location.

At least a portion of the property will be fenced with limestone rock used for parking area. Bloodworth said that 90 percent of the company’s sales are delivered to the customer.

Helena Chemical Company was established in 1957, according to their website.

Headquartered in Collierville, the company has 3,000 employees nationwide with 600 sales representatives working from 350 sales locations.

The recommendation will go before Panola County supervisors at their Second District meeting in Batesville Monday, December 9.