Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

MDWFP: Hearing needed for planned shooting range?

By Rupert Howell
Supervisors were thrown a curve during a budget work session Wednesday when Scottie Jones with MDWFP and Chad Meek with Panola County’s Land Use Commission showed up seeking guidance on whether a proposed shooting range at Charles Ray Nix WMA would require a hearing before the planning commission prior to approval by supervisors.
Adjacent landowners had earlier requested the county to rescind the letter of endorsement, a request denied, but supervisors and Meek were unsure if the proposal would be legal.
The county’s attorney, Bill McKenzie, had a previous commitment, but supervisors voted to move forward with approval of the range facility pending an opinion that exempted the State of Mississippi from going through the county’s land use process.
District Four supervisor Donald Phelps said later attorneys for Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks had assured the state’s plan would supersede county regulations and the project’s groundbreaking could proceed the first of September as planned.
Richard Allen whose family owns property adjacent to the proposed ranges said last week that his family thought the shooting facility was great thing, but questioned why with 4,000 acres available, did the facility have to be planned for a location on a narrow secondary road adjacent to their property.
Charles Ray Nix Wildlife Management Area is located south and west of Sardis, west of Highway 51 near Old Panola and Davis Chapel Roads.
The proposed range is expected to have a 15 station sporting clay range, two skeet trap ranges, five-stand sporting clay range, two rifle ranges, a pistol range and three dimensional archery range.

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