Ordinance zone proposed for ‘front door’
By Rupert Howell
County supervisors and commissioners of the Land Use Commission huddled around development consultant Bob Barber of Orion Planning + Design as he outlined a process for updating a county comprehensive plan. The current 20-year plan, Progress Panola, adopted in 1999, has become outdated.
After several rambling discussions among members regarding progress, or lack thereof, talk finally focused on a separate ordinance zone between Batesville and Oxford on the Highway 6/278 corridor.
Officials concluded that all stakeholders including the Cities of Batesville and Oxford as well as Lafayette County and Ole Miss should be involved in a meeting to discuss how best to develop the area that is one of the busiest corridors in the northern portion of the state and the “Front Door” to the University of Mississippi.
Other items briefly mentioned during Monday’s joint meeting included adding minimum standards to commercial building construction, requiring commission approval when more than one residence is being constructed, adjusting or changing rules for people living in Recreation Vehicles as a main residence.
Barber reminded those present that almost 20 years ago land use ordinances were put into place due to concerns about raw sewage, inadequate private roads being developed for the county to later maintain, junk cars, dilapidated houses and a need for a minimum property size for home lots.
Noting the purpose of the commission is to achieve a better community, Barber said Panola is now facing a deferent scenario with technological changes and other differences. He said the practice of planning has also changed, stating that no longer does one size fit all with communities having different situations as land use classification can be more precise and tailored for certain areas.
Land use classification now includes residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural.
Commissioner Danny Jones chaired Monday’s meeting and noted that Panola County now has a more aggressive group of supervisors who, “want to clean up some things.”
Panola Partnership Director Joe Azar also attended Monday’s meeting and noted that Panola County, “. . . has so many things going for us.”
He noted the area lakes and the soon-to-be-completed shooting range near Sardis. He mentioned property at Sardis Lake annexed and leased by the Town of Sardis as having tremendous potential.
Barber warned against depending on retail development stating, “Retail is probably at its peak. you can’t bank on retail. Retail is in jeopardy,” while acknowledging that online shopping is growing dramatically.
Supervisors instructed Code Enforcement Officer Chad Meek, who wears several hats for the county, to arrange a meeting with other entities along the 6/278 Highway to begin discussion on finding common interest on the busy corridor.