Land Use Commission says ‘event center’ can’t stay open 2/14/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 14, 2014

Land Use Commission says ‘event center’ can’t stay open

By Rupert Howell
Panola county Land Use Commissioners denied a special exception request from Marlon Porter that would have allowed an event center to continue operation on Highway 51 north of Como. The board also approved,  during Monday’s monthly meeting  in Sardis, a request to allow Memphis Stone and Gravel to expand their mining operation on Highway 35 south west of Batesville.

The Highway 51 building is located on property classified as agricultural although adjacent buildings’ classification were either grandfathered commercial or received special exception status and were formerly used as car lot and convenience store.

Porter leases the building and rents it to the public for birthday parties, receptions, weddings and other events.

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Commissioner Danny Jones asked Porter what he classified as an event and questioned past activities that had occurred at the location. Commissioner Sledge Taylor who lives in the Como area, said his concern was that if customers that are renting the building are putting posters out all over the county, “It’s beyond your control . . . It can get out of control pretty quick.”

Porter noted that incidents occur at other places naming a bar and restaurant on Main Street in Como and noted that Batesville Civic Center is used for the same purpose as his event center.
Panola Sheriff Dennis Darby stepped up and said he would not support in any way approval of the event center, noting that there have been shootings and drugs there.

He referred to a New Year’s Eve party where a security guard and customer fired shots and stated, “In my opinion, it doesn’t even need to be considered.”

Jessica Brooks of Senatobia spoke before the commission and said the facility was a good place to have a party or event, noting that any facility, whether public or private, can have people sometimes getting out of hand.

A motion by Commissioner Jones to deny the request passed with commissioners splitting their decision in favor of Jones’ motion.

A request by Memphis Stone and Gravel to add 35 acres to their mining operation on Highay 35 south of Batesville adjacent to Walls Road met with the board’s approval as no one appeared to oppose the expansion.

Attorney Taylor Buntin and Alan Parks with Memphis Stone showed maps of the property and assured commissioners vegetation and berms would be in place to reduce noise, dust and unsightliness. Parks said materials would be removed from the area on conveyor and the area would be reclaimed following the six-year use period.

Commissioners passed the request unanimously.

The Land Use Commission meets monthly on the second Monday at 6 p.m. alternating between Batesville and Sardis Courthouses.

The next meeting is March 10 in Batesville.