Judge agrees with board; allows Como gravel pit 9/26/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 26, 2014

Judge agrees with board; allows Como gravel pit

By Rupert Howell
A circuit judge has agreed with Panola supervisors on an appeal of a decision that granted a special exception to H&G Land Company and APAC-Mississippi , Inc., allowing a gravel mining/washing operation and asphalt plant on property located in the northeast quadrant of the I-55 intersection in Como currently zoned agricultural.

The supervisors’ decision was appealed by a group of Como businesses and citizens after the county’s Land Development Commission voted to reject the request for a special exception with supervisors overturning that decision.

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Board of Supervisors attorney Bill McKenzie notified supervisors of the September 16 decision by Circuit Judge Robert P. Chamberlin during Thursday’s recess meeting held in Batesville.
Speaking to supervisors, McKenzie predicted the issue would go on to the State’s Supreme Court for a final verdict.

H & G and APAC had attempted to gain the special exception status on the property zoned agricultural after meeting with Panola County’s Land Development Commission monthly between April and July of 2013 before the application was denied.

An appeal to Panola County’s supervisors was approved  during a public hearing August 12 with the minutes being finalized during an August 22 recess meeting when supervisors entered an order overruling the Land Commission’s decision and granting the special exception.

H & G/APAC asserted that appellants were without standing to appeal as they did not participate in the hearing before supervisors and provided no evidence that they would experience adverse effects from the decision.

They also questioned  timing of the supervisors decision as the law allows an appeal within ten days from the date of adjournment of the session the board rendered the judgement.

While the decision was made August 12, that meeting was recessed until August 22 when the decision was entered into the minutes and the meeting officially adjourned. The appeal was ultimately allowed.

The opinion and order stated appellants appeared to believe the Land Development Commission’s decision to deny was based on presented evidence and should have required supervisors to affirm that decision rather than replacing it with their own decision and findings.
The opinion cited case law and stated, “the decisions of a planning commission are merely advisory in nature. . .”

“. . .This court finds no error with the decisions of the PCBOS (supervisors) to grant the special exception,” the decision stated.