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Owner Applies Again for Permit to Demolish WV Buildings

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor

The owner of two historic buildings in downtown Water Valley has applied for a second permit to demolish the structures after his permit was denied last week.

However, Terry Warren, who owns the buildings as well Rebel Rags and Southern Table in Oxford, said the permit – if granted – would only be his “last resort.”

The saga of the two 140-year-old buildings started earlier this month when Warren filed for the first permit to demolish, claiming the cause was being “regulated out” by the city’s beer law that required a meal to be ordered or anticipated when ordering a beer.

The Water Valley Board of Aldermen voted last Friday, 3 to 2, to amend the ordinance and take out the requirement. On Monday, it was announced at the Water Valley Planning Commission that Warren’s application for the permit was denied on the grounds that it did not meet the 208 building codes and that Warren did not submit “a plan” with the application.

On Tuesday morning, Warren filed his second application along with more detailed plans.

Later that night, the Board of Aldermen approved a resolution of intent to form a historic preservation commission that included a 180-day moratorium that would prevent any substantial demolition or alteration to any buildings in the existing downtown commercial or historic district. However, the resolution doesn’t go into effect until 30 days after the Board’s vote.

The buildings were purchased in 2015, according to Warren. The “beer law” was put into effect in 2014. Warren said he believes the law was passed to keep a “bar out of Water Valley.”

Warren said while he spent money to start renovations on the building, the necessary renovations are not complete and the two buildings are sitting unfinished in a state of disrepair. He said demolishing the buildings would be his last resort.

“The Board of Aldermen are elected by people. They speak for the citizens of Water Valley by their votes. When the citizens voted through their aldermen to make no change to the law (in 2017), I pulled out and went to Oxford to open a restaurant – Southern Table,” Warren told Hottytoddy.com on Thursday. “Demolition was an option but it was my last option. We have been and will continue to try to rent it or sell the property.

“If a (demolition) permit is issued, it does not mean it will be executed. It’s just a last option. Lack of cooperation from the city is why we are at this point now. I have no plans to open anything in Water Valley but I would work with anybody that would like to use these buildings for a business.”

Many business owners and residents in Water Valley have spoken out against the demolition of the two buildings on social media and at the public meetings.

The application to demolish is expected to be on the Planning Commission’s agenda during its Feb. 18 meeting at 7 p.m. at Water Valley City Hall.

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