Gravel mining issue returns 10/16/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 16, 2015

Gravel mining issue returns

By Rupert Howell
Panola County Land Use Commissioners recommended approval of a special exception to operate gravel/sand minining operation and wash plant south of Sardis on rural property owned by the Seay family during their monthly meeting held Monday in Sardis.

Although there were no adjacent landowners present to protest, two individuals with mining interests spoke in objection to the proposed operation.

Nearby property owner Cowles Horton spoke, stating he was not there as an opponent but was there for information concerning the plant that will be on Harris Road and will enter Highway 51 just north of Woodlawn Animal Hospital.

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One of those objecting had been on the other side of the fence with petitioner APAC beginning in 2013 during a long process before the same board hearing the current issue.

Nolan West was the property owner when APAC wanted to begin a mining operation east of Como near I-55. The Land Use Commissioners turned down that request but the decision was appealed to county supervisors who denied their recommendation allowing the operation to proceed.

A group of Como residents then took the matter to Circuit Court and it went to the state’s Supreme Court where it currently stands.

West said he had a signed agreement with APAC from August 2013 where the board granted APAC the authority to set up a mining operation.

“I can’t see issuing another permit to APAC,” West noted citing the current lawsuit underway.
“Why do we want to get in another one,” West said adding that APAC already had two permitted gravel pits in the county—one in an agreement with him and another at Viney Creek.

Brian Moore representing APAC said his company had, “No interest by APAC to mine in the Como site (site owned by West),” and the Viney Creek plant equipment and property formerly owned by APAC had been sold.

Moore provided MDOT specifications and approval for the site and informed commissioners his company would be responsible for constructing the road to and from the site as well as upgrading the highway per MDOT’s instructions.

He also said APAC would employ local truck drivers and personnel to operate the site.
Dr. Mike Havens also spoke in opposition stating he was the owner of Rockco Mining Co. located in the Eureka Community.

“What assurance do we have they’re not going to back out of that?” Havens asked referring to the APAC’s former agreement with West.

Havens said there were currently seven wash plants in the county and then stated, “I think everybody in Panola County needs to be able to raise chickens but I don’t think we need a chicken processing plant at every house.”

Opponents of Monday’s decision can appeal to Panola Supervisors and the supervisors’ decision can be appealed in Circuit Court.

Woody Drake cast the only dissenting vote. Other members present at Monday’s meeting included: Frank Carter, Danny Jones, Danny Holland, Arlene Wilson, Verna Lasha-Hunter, Wanda Carmichael, Tim Holliday and chairman Sledge Taylor.