Olive Branch Reconsiders Theater

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(Olive Branch, MS) Terri Vaughan likes her quiet neighborhood, but got concerned when plans were announced for a multi-screen movie theater right behind her house.

She and her neighbors got worried theater patrons might end up walking through their yards, ”What’s going on behind there you can’t see. It’s not visible, so they could come from the back of the property into the neighborhood and really with unrestricted access."

Just a couple of weeks ago, Olive Branch Aldermen approved plans for the theater at Pleasant Hill and Goodman, but Monday morning suddenly took a step back.

”We start like it’s never happened basically” said Mayor Sam Rikard, who calls it a very rare move.

What happened?

Somebody realized the zoning map was wrong and found the property had never been rezoned for commercial use.

In fact, it’s still considered agricultural land.

So, Aldermen rescinded their approval so the process could start all over again.

”We set public hearings through the Planning Commission and the Board of Aldermen so far as we’re concerned it’s a brand new application for zoning."

Rikard says approval isn’t a sure thing ”I wouldn’t say that it’s certain that it will go through. I think, it’s correct, yeah. Anything could happen”.

Neighbors say they could live with a theater, if it’s set far enough from their homes, and there’s an earthen berm separating the property.

”We’re glad that it’s having to start all over again and that the Mayor and Aldermen will re-think it."

She says she and her neighbors plan to have their say during that process.

Malco theatres is in the process of building a new cineplex down the street from the proposed theater.