Land commission allows three exemptions New bar opening on Curtis Rd.

Published 3:58 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

By Jeremy Weldon

The Panola County Land Development Commission allowed three special exceptions at its December meeting at the Sardis Courthouse this month.

Munif Salman, who operates a gas station and convenience store on Hentz Rd., just off I-55 at the Pope exit. Salman told the board members he lives out of town and the long hours at the store make it necessary to spend nights here.

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Salman proposed to put a new single-wide manufactured home behind the store. A special exception was needed because the property is zoned commercial and housing is generally frowned upon in those areas.

The board agreed that the new dwelling would not be easily visible from the road or the store parking lot, and told Salman he could move a manufactured home to the location with the understanding that it would never be used as a rental property, and that he would remove the structure if he doesn’t renew his lease to operate the station at that location.

Salman said he has a 10-year lease at the store and intends to buy the property when the lease is up.

Gary Howard asked the board for permission to operate an auto repair business on property he owns at 7125 Barnacre Rd, in Sardis. Howard has been repairing vehicles at the property for some time and has a good business there, but not a license to operate such a business in an agriculture area.

Commissioners granted the special exception asking Howard to keep all vehicles not ready for pick-up by customers behind a fence and not visible from the road. Although the repair shop is located in a rural area of the county, board members are concerned that car repair businesses can easily become vehicle junkyards and unsightly for neighbors.

Howard told the board his wife “stays on him” about any cars that accumulate in front of the shop area – the couple lives adjacent to the business – and between her and regular property checks by the land board’s members extra vehicles at the property will not be a problem.

Anthony Harris, who was denied permission to open a bar and social club on Curtis Rd. at the November meeting, found a more favorable board this month and was given permission to open two nights a weekend.

Harris, who has leased the old skating rink building from Lawrence Hoskins, barely got his exception when the board voted 5-4 to allow him to open Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.  Harris has a permit from the state to sell beer and will allow patrons to bring hard liquor to the club.

He assured board members he will keep adequate security. Last month Harris applied to have a pool hall and club that would be open several days a week with a 35 and older age limit. This month, Harris amended his request to open just two nights a week, but didn’t agree to an age limit.

Sheriff Dennis Darby addressed Harris and the board at the November meeting, warning that his department will not tolerate drunk driving or illegal activity at the club. Harris told the sheriff he intends to run a low-key club and invited Darby to have deputies do nightly walk-throughs when the bar is open.

“The last thing I want is trouble, and that’s not the kind of people that I will be having at the club,” Harris said.