Olive Branch Leaders Vote Against Neighborhood Theater

Posted on: 3:33 pm, February 19, 2013, by , updated on: 05:17pm, February 19, 2013

(Olive Branch, MS)  We were the first to tell you about the battle to build a movie theater near a residential neighborhood.

Tuesday night it was curtain closed and the end for that theater project.

Olive Branch aldermen have been getting an earful from homeowners who were concerned about the theater in their backyards.

Aldermen say the parcel of land is zoned as commercial property but the Pooja Movie Theater was not approved to be built.

Steve Heuser and his wife got a lump in their throat when they looked out their back window last week.

Heuser says he saw trackhoes clearing the land behind their home, ”We were told the seller still owned the property or at least led to believe that, so a couple of days after the meeting we were told that, we find the property starting to be stripped and we were kinda shocked.”

Apparently the sale went through a month ago, and the new owner, the Pooja Cinema wants to put a huge movie theater on the site.

The Heuser’s say even the woman who sold the property didn’t know a movie theater was going in, and told them she wouldn’t have sold the property if she’d known, because she has relatives who live just a dozen yards away.

The Heusers and other families live a dozen yards or so from the property line and have long complained the theater was too close to their neighborhood.

Olive Branch Aldermen have been getting an earful.

”Tuesday morning, I received several phone calls, e-mails, from the citizens throughout the City of Olive Branch concerned about the theater being placed where it is,” said Alderman Don Tullos.

He’s concerned about how close the theater is to homes, and the traffic it would send onto busy Goodman Road, at the top of a hill, where visibility is limited.

Aldermen say they want to hear both sides and make the best decision, ”We want to hear what they have to say. We want business in Olive Branch, but we want businesses that are gonna be good neighbors.”

The theater owner didn’t return our messages seeking his side.

Neighbors say the Aldermen need to support voters.

There’s still three weeks to file for this year’s city elections.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, Alderman voted not to allow a movie theater to be built near the neighborhood.