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Court set to rule on gravel mining operation

EUREKA — Circuit Judge Jimmy McClure says he’ll rule by Sept. 15 on a proposed gravel mining operation in the Eureka community of Panola County.

Memphis Stone and Gravel Company wants to move its present mining operation from Batesville to a 200-acre site along Eureka Road.

The land is currently zoned agricultural and Memphis Stone needed the special exception permit to mine and wash gravel, and sell it at the site.

The county’s land development commission turned down Memphis Stone’s permit request. Memphis Stone appealed the board of supervisors, which voted 2-2 to uphold the commission decision.

Any decision reached by McClure is likely to be appealed.

Memphis Stone attorney Pat Lancaster argued during a recent hearing before McClure that a tie vote by the board of supervisors did not settle the issue.

Lancaster said the board of supervisors — not the county land commission — has the final authority to rule on zoning issues, meaning the appeal to supervisors remains unsettled.

“You can’t defer to the land commission,” he said, because it has “no governing authority.”

Officials said Panola County’s zoning regulations stipulate that the land commission has the authority to rule on a special exception permit. The special exception is different from other zoning changes that are sent by the land commission to the board of supervisors as a recommendation.

Jay Westfaul, an attorney representing the board of supervisors, said Memphis Stone’s permit request moved to the board of supervisors only because it was appealed.

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