Land Commission says “no” to Rolling Hills
By Myra Bean
The Panola County Land Commission met Monday night to conduct a public hearing on whether to allow Robert Ruby to reopen the Rolling Hill Bar and Grill in Sardis.
His application was met in force by members of the Wesley Chapel Methodist Church which sits 430 feet from the building which formerly housed the business. State law stipulates that those type of businesses cannot be within 400 feet of a church or school. Also members of the community who live on that road showed up to voice their objection to the reopening of Rolling Hills.
Ruby explained that beer would be sold but patrons could bring in any other alcoholic beverage. That also brought a barrage of protests from the audience.
Ruby had no one to speak in support of his application while church and community members cited finding drunks sleeping in the church parking lot on Sunday mornings, numerous ambulance calls for accidents and shootings.
Sheriff Dennis Darby issued a harsh warning to Ruby before the board took a vote that if there was any shooting, knifing or drugs, “I will shut you down myself,” Darby said. “We will have zero tolerance for drinking and driving and shootings.”
Because of a lack of personnel, there would not be a lot of sheriff department security around the facility. Ruby did say he would have three security guards on the premise at all times, but said he had no control over what people did once they left his business.
The land commission voted 7-1 to deny the application. Ruby has 10 days to appeal to the County Board of Supervisors.
The commission also heard from Tammy Taylor who has a restricted covenant in Hotophia Hills and said people had bought lots and put cattle on the land and fences and some houses she referred to as “huts.”
She felt these were driving down the market value of the property. However, the commission could not help her due to the restricted covenant but did suggest she seek out an attorney to see what could be done if false advertising was involved.
Hunter Lawrence was introduced to the commission as being hired to deal with menace properties in the county.
The board held annual elections. Danny Jones was selected the chairman; Kirk Rowsey, vice chairman and Wood Drake, secretary.