Sardis rescinds zoning change
By Myra Bean
The Sardis City Board had a full slate of business to handle Tuesday night and many people in attendance to hear.
Attorney Harold Lamar appeared before the board in response to the litigation filed last month against the City of Sardis. He suggested the board rescind its decision to rezone 400 Highway 51 from Industrial to C2. The board agreed unanimously to the motion.
Still unclear is whether the business currently based at the address (the old blue jean factory building) will file for a variance, or be forced to leave the location. The Industrial Zone designation for the building does not allow for vehicle detailing, the business of the current occupant.
With the vote, the point of the Circuit Court filing becomes mute, and it’s probable the lawsuit will be withdrawn.
At a called meeting in March, the board voted to dissolve the Mayoral Health Council which was in the last stages of bringing a Farmers Market to Sardis.
Carla Jackson appeared before the board to get clarification as to why all the hard work for a Farmers Market had been swept aside by the board.
Mayor Lula Palmer read the minutes as to why the board made that decision, regarding the use of city funds to pay a coordinator. The city paid the consultant and then the grant from the Mississippi Delta Health Council repaid the city. However, the board members felt they were not given all the information up front.
There was still some tension between the mayor and some board members about this event.
“We have to offer something to the city of Sardis where the produce would be grown to help,” Jackson said. “It’s kind of hard to tell people to do something and you are not offering anything. A Farmers Market, even if it was $200, was a small amount, I think the citizens of Sardis truly needed.
“You have Dollar General out there. A Farmer’s Market where people would be able to afford these vegetables. Not only that, you are learning to grow. You can’t tell our children, ‘Don’t eat this’ if we are only offering them a bag of chips.”
They had four committed growers for the market, she said.
“We need to re-investigate and dig deeper to see what is going on here. We have a grant,” Jackson said.
“We have voted on this and this has passed. So we need to move on to the next thing,” said Alderman-at-large Michael Price.
Alderman Bonnie Smith thanked Jackson for the information and said they would take it under advisement. “There were a couple of things that we found out after the fact,” Smith said. Her calm voice and attitude seemed to calm the tension among the board, at least for this issue.
In other business, the City Board:
• Heard from Tracy Feamley of Suez Advanced Solutions. The City is required to wash the water tanks every five years. His firm washed the tank on Rainwater Street Monday and presented his findings. He said the other tank will be washed and inspected next Monday. He also presented the board with the services his firm offers which are available to them for continual inspections and warranty.
• Gave permission for the Charlotte Danner Estate on 421 Crump to do what is needed to clean the property.
• Kay Wolfe and Brian Anderson approached the board about also fixing up the playground on the south side of Sardis near the old school (off McLaurin St.) with some of the funds to be used on the playground on Hwy. 51.
The funds for the playground is specific to a grant, but the board did say they could look for some grants to cover the fixing up of that playground.
• Tabled changes to the ordinance regarding 18-wheelers parking and driving on city streets until engineer David Evans has a chance to assess what the city’s current needs are. The ordinance on the books was adopted in 1975.
• Heard Palmer’s mayor’s report which included that Hudson Chadwick told her that he was opening the Marina Restaurant at the end of April. He is working on his resort status.
• Confirmed with Fire Chief Mitch Daugherty that the city will send some firefighters for investigator and inspector training. This was approved by the previous board. However, the training was not included in this year’s budget. The board said they are looking into other fire funds to cover costs.
• Heard from Public Works Director Quinn West who reported on the J. C. Sexton Park. It has been requested the park be used for a Blues Concert in October. He said the bathrooms do not look too bad, but the water lines go through a ditch and the water had to be cut off. The stage is also unstable in his opinion.
• Voted to go into executive session to hear from Panola Partnership CEO Joe Azar on a business recruitment matter. The board, behind closed doors, also heard updates on personnel issues. Board Attorney Tommy Shuler said council members no action on either matter.