Ammo business bringing appeal to supervisors

Published 10:25 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2024

The Panola County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hear an appeal from two Oxford businessmen who were denied approval by the Land Development Commission to open an ammunition reloading business here.

Zelazny & Schaeffler Armaments, LLC, owned by Georg-Christian Schaeffler and Declan Zelazny, both Ole Miss students, had asked the commission for a special exception at its April 8 meeting. The pair hoped to provide a specialty ammunition loading service on property they recently purchased at 12053 Hwy. 35S.

The partners told the Land Development board they would pack and store ammunition waiting to be delivered in an outbuilding on the property and would reside in the main house. They also said quality control measures would require that ammunition would be occasionally tested by firing into a natural earthen bern already on the property.

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Their plan was opposed by several landowners in the area – the property is located in District 3 that Supervisor John Thomas represents – some who expressed safety concerns about ammunition storage and live firing. The property proposed for the business is surrounded by agricultural fields and wooded area, with the nearest residence about a half-mile away.

Any decision of the Land Development Commission can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors if a written request is received within 10 days of the decision. 

In his appeal, Schaeffler wrote, “We feel that we were not given a proper forum to present ourselves to the community and protest that we were not allowed to address the public’s concerns or rebut inaccurate claims made by our opposition.

Therefore, we wish to bring our case to the Board of Supervisors for a second consideration.”

Ammunition reloading businesses are common across the United States and are considered safe endeavors under controlled circumstances. The Board of Supervisors will hear the appeal at its May 13 meeting at the Batesville Courthouse.

Adding interest to the proposed business for Panola County for local government observers is the connection of one of the applicants to one of the largest fortunes in the world. 

Schaeffler is the son of Georg F. W. Schaeffler, a German businessman with an estimated net worth of $10.2 billion, and ranked by Forbes magazine as the 171st richest person in the world in May of 2023.

With his mother, the elder Schaeffler controls holding companies with valuations of nearly $20 billion, including a nearly 50 percent stake in Continental.