Zoning change possibly paves way for shelter
By Rupert Howell
Batesville Safe Shelter took a forward step Monday night when Panola County Land Commissioners approved to recommend a zoning change for property to build a womens’ safe shelter.
The zoning change now goes to a public hearing before Panola County supervisors who can approve or disallow it. Land Commissioners pre-approved a request for a special exception if the measure is approved by supervisors to change the property’s classification from agricultural to residential.
Rev. Jake Julian and the Safe Shelter board have met twice previously with land commissioners but were turned back due to area residents’ opposition.
There was no opposition during Monday’s November meeting.
The proposed site is located on two acres of property owned by Hoseanna Church near the Pope-Courtland I-55 exit on Hentz Road.
Julian and Land Commissioner Danny Jones both noted the property is ideal for the shelter as it is out of sight and has limited access.
Jones said by denying the previous request, the group had actually found a more suitable location, noting the commission’s cautious approach had beneficial results.
The women’s shelter group recently co-sponsored a fundraiser in the form of a violence awareness stage play entitled These 4 Walls (See additional commentary page A5), with Julian stating the group is now in the second stage of their process—raising funds.
Land commissioners also approved a special exception for a convenience store on Eureka Road, formerly Farmers Deli and Boss’ Store, to operate after being shuttered.
Commissioners asked that an RV parked behind the building be removed or brought into compliance. The special exception included a 20 year life and hours of operation were from 5 a.m. – 1- p.m.
Blueswater, a bottled artesian water, will be produced at a building proposed for Highway 6 east of Batesville near the used bathtub site on the north side of the highway.
George Farrish Jr. of Panola Paper and Casey Lipe, proposed a 40/80’ metal building with brick facade to be used to bottle and service containers of water to be sold and delivered.
Farrish show diagrams and pictures of what he expects the building to look like and Lipe explained he had a nearby artesian well with quality water.
Lipe, a bluesman, also owns Blueswood furniture and told commissioners that he and Farrish were trying, “to play off the blues, and noting his “. . . good quality artesian water well was only 200 yards away.”