County approves RV park with conditions

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, June 29, 2022

In a special called meeting late Friday afternoon, the Panola County Board of Supervisors approved by a 3-2 vote, the construction of a luxury RV park to be located on the Panola-Lafayette County line.

The Land Development Commission had turned down the request of Dr. Premalatha Balachandran of Oxford in June to build what she and her husband said will be an upscale RV park designed to host Ole Miss athletic events traffic and other cross-country travelers.

Several families who own property adjacent to the 10 acres the investors have begun clearing objected to the special exception, telling commission members and later supervisors, they feared an RV park would cause a devaluation of their land.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At the appeal hearing, Supervisors Chad Weaver and Earl Burdette voted against the request, with Supervisors Cole Flint, John Thomas, and James Birge giving their approval. Weaver, who represents District 4 where the park will be located, said he appreciated the $1.3 million investment the property owners promised, but agreed with his constituents that the prime property may not be the right location for that type of development.

Burdette voiced concern that law enforcement officers, already stretched in their ability to cover the county, would be able to patrol the area without taking deputies away from other parts of their jurisdiction.

Dr. Balachandran said, the proposed RV park would have all paved roads, concrete pads for each RV, a community type commons building, and green spaces. Additionally, the fenced area would have walking trails and a dog park.

She agreed to several conditions the supervisors attached to their special exception approval, including the construction of an earthen berm built to a height of 10 feet and topped with evergreen shrubs and trees to make the RV park less visible from Hwy. 6.

Additionally, supervisors mandated that owners install an entrance gate that would restrict traffic to only those customers with a security code. Design of common areas and any subsequent additions will also have to be approved by the Land Commission and the Board of Supervisors if necessary.

The property owners also plan to completely renovate the current structure on the property, an old convenience store that has been closed for several years. They told county officials the store will be a full service retail store with hot food and an Ole Miss theme.

The applicants had previously told supervisors that Ole Miss sporting events would provide a customer base, but other area festivals, youth tournaments, and various activities in the Panola-Lafayette area have created a demand for upscale RV opportunities.