Lawson ordered to close business
by Chance Wright
Oct 16, 2012 | 2790 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday in an executive session to file an injunction against Helen and Alfonzo Lawson, owners of the Sugar Shack, located at 403 Old Highway 61 in Choctaw, to cease and desist any and all business operations until a lawsuit between the two parties is settled.

The decision comes on the heels of Helen Lawson sending letters addressed to the board and county Attorney Linda Coleman showing that the state had recently approved a liquor license for the business.

The letter also said that the business would be open over the weekend for business.

Despite being previously ordered by the board to cease building, the Lawsons advertised a "Grand Opening" for the weekend in Friday's edition of The Bolivar Commercial.

In early August, Alfonzo Lawson appeared before the board in an attempt to gain reprieve from the county's land use ordinance.

Before a July fire destroyed his business, a nightclub/bar/convenience store, at the same location, Lawson had been grandfathered into Bolivar County's 2008 land use rezoning, which allowed him to continue to operate his business in a residential zone.

After the blaze, Lawson skipped the normal procedure of appearing before the planning commission and continue to rebuild even though he had been advised on multiple occasions not to.

During that August meeting and after a heated discussion, the board voted by a 4-1 margin to also skip the protocol of the planning commission and granted Lawson the O.K. to continue rebuilding.

During the board's budget meeting the following day, a number of residents from the small Choctaw community were invited to speak before the board.

At this meeting the group of residents asked the board to rescind their motion allowing Lawson to rebuild. The board took no action and a lawsuit was filed on the residents' behalf.

At a later meeting, the board did, in fact, rescind it previous decision and demanded that Lawson stop rebuilding immediately and follow the protocol of appearing before the county's planning commission.

Following the board's decision, Lawson and his attorney Alecia Thomas filed a counter suit against the county and the Board of Supervisors.

Lawson then asked to be put on the agenda of the Planning Commission's monthly meeting. Before the commission, Lawson asked that his property to be rezoned from residential to commercial.

Dr. Bernice Ray, chairperson of the Planning Commission appointed by Supervisor Andrew Williams, told Lawson that they would follow the proper procedures, which includes holding a public hearing that is scheduled for Thursday.