County fines business owner $115,000 in zoning dispute

November 12, 2020 GMT

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — A north Mississippi county is fining a business owner $115,000 after he built a commercial business without getting a building permit or site plan approval.

Lafayette County supervisors voted Nov. 2 to assess the fines and pursue legal action against J&J Wholesalers owner Ryan Jones

The Oxford Eagle reports that supervisors in October gave Jones a two-week grace period to come into compliance. Lawyer Gaines Baker asked supervisors on Nov. 2 to give Jones another month to finish the work he’s started, but the board refused


County building official Joel Hollowell told supervisors that, while he found some junk cars had been removed and the property’s sewer system had been repaired, an inspection at the end of the grace period also discovered a large dumping area filled with household trash.

Hollowell said he no longer believed Jones would come into compliance after four years of disputes.

“We have heard his promises before,” Hollowell said. “I have 19 pages that pertain to all of Jones’ promises he’s made.”

The trouble began in 2016 when inspectors found Jones had moved his business from Panola County to Lafayette County and was operating it at a residence not permitted to operate as a commercial business.

Jones failed to comply after deadline extensions, and Jones pleaded guilty to violations in Lafayette County Justice Court, paying a $1,000 fine. The county then ordered Jones to stop operating the business.

Jones told supervisors he now plans to relocate to Tate County.