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A Tale of Two Buildings: Permit to Demolish Denied

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

Water Valley’s building inspector has denied a permit for demolition for two downtown Water Valley buildings owned by Terry Warren.
Photo provided by Mickey Howley

A permit request to demolish two historic buildings in downtown Water Valley was denied by the city’s building inspector, Trey Magee.

At a Water Valley Planning Commission meeting Monday night, Chairman Eddie Foster announced that the application for a permit to demolish the two buildings submitted by businessman Terry Warren was denied.

“The permit did not agree with the 2018 Mississippi building codes,” Foster reported at the meeting held at Water Valley City Hall.

About 30 people attended the meeting, including Jaime Harker, owner of Violet Valley Bookstore that is located next to Warren’s buildings. She said she was pleased with the building inspector’s decision.

“That was great news,” she said. “I don’t expect this is the end of it but we can cross our fingers. Tearing down sturdy, historic buildings is a crazy thing to do so I hope we can find other options.”

Foster said Warren could appear before the Board of Aldermen to “discuss his options.”

Last week, Warren said the city “regulated him out” of opening a bar and restaurant due to the city’s beer law that stated beer could only be ordered with the “anticipation” of a meal. However, the Board of Aldermen voted 3 to 2 Friday to change the law and remove the requirement. Warren told Hottytoddy.com that while he was glad the aldermen changed the law it was “too late” and he would be moving forward with the demolition so he could claim a total loss and take the tax credit.

Warren, who owns Oxford businesses Rebel Rags and Southern Table Bar & Grill, purchased the two buildings in 2017, three years after the beer law was put in place.

The two buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places; however, that does not protect them from demolition.

During the meeting Friday, Mayor Donald Gray said he may consider trying to veto the board’s decision. The board could then override the mayor’s veto with four of the five aldermen voting to do so. The mayor has 10 days from the board’s decision to attempt to veto the vote. If he does not veto the law, it will be voted on during the board’s regular February meeting and will go into effect 30 days from the vote.

The Water Valley Board of Aldermen is holding a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the possible creation of downtown historic preservation district.

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