Land Planning Commissioners deny sports bar 4/18/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2014

Land Planning Commissioners deny sports bar

By Rupert Howell
A request to open a sports bar north of Como on Highway 51 was denied Monday by Panola County’s Land Development Commission after hearing Sheriff Dennis Darby’s impassioned plea against the proposal.

Marious Porter had made the request for a public hearing seeking a special exception to allow a sports bar at the location. Porter had sought a special exception to use the same facility as an event center before the commission in months prior, but was also turned down by commissioners.

Porter could have appealed that decision to Panola County supervisors but did not. He also has the right to appeal Monday’s decision to that board.

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After Porter told commissioners about his plans for the sports bar and answered questions from commissioners, Sheriff Darby took his turn with the floor and reminded commissioners that the last time he (Porter) had a business in the building, “Two people got shot. There was shooting back and forth. He’s caused more problems in that building than all the rest put together.”

Darby continued, “I’m up here trying to take care of the good people in this county. (If you allow this request) you can’t control it.”

The sheriff also said that he feared for the safety of his deputies who would eventually be called to the location noting that previously five armed “security officers” were on premises but his deputies didn’t know who they were while noting the smell of drugs was also obvious in the building.

“I think it’s (the application) has been sugar coated . . . I’m doing everything in my ability to stop it,” Darby said while questioning Porter’s credibility and asking commissioners, “What am I supposed to do?”

Commissioner Bob Haltom made the motion to deny the request stating reasons including that according to the law, beer is not to be sold and consumed in the same building in rural Panola County, noting the commission’s responsibility to promote general welfare of the county and stating,”His previous record with the sheriff, I can’t vote against the sheriff.”

There were no verbal nays against Haltom’s motion to deny and Porter now has to decide whether to appeal the decision to Panola supervisors.

In other business, commissioners voted unanimously for Robert (BB) Lee to operate his concession stand on Highway 51 in Courtland.

Lee was authorized to operate the business from noon until 9 p.m. where he will be serving concessions to go including hot wings and burgers.

The Panola County Land Development Commission meets monthly on the second Monday of each month at 6 p.m. alternating between Batesville and Sardis courthouses. The next meeting scheduled is May 12 in Batesville.