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Lafayette County’s J&J Wholesalers facing hefty fine

Ryan Jones will likely have to pay a hefty fine if he wants to finish building and operate J&J Wholesalers on Highway 7 North.

During Monday evening’s Lafayette County Planning Commission meeting, county building inspector Joel Hollowell informed commissioners that Jones has basically been operating a business without a permit or a site plan for the last 182 days. The penalty for doing so is $50 per day and $100 per day, respectively, which means Jones is looking at a total fine of $27,300.

Attorney Sarah Dickey, who was representing Jones, initially requested more time to rebut the fines against her clients, but consented to present her case before the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors, who ultimately would determine the fine amount. The supervisors next meet on June 5.

Continuing problem

The case against Jones has been an ongoing issue.

In September of last year, Jones was granted permission by the Commission and Board of Supervisors to build an 8,000-square foot building for personal use at a property he owns on Highway 7 North.

“Since that time, a lot of activity has been going on,” Hollowell said during the planning commission’s March meeting.

According to Hollowell, the building has three automotive bays with two car lifts, several vehicles onsite and others parked along the shoulder of Highway 7. During a slideshow presentation, Hollowell photographed 18-wheeler trucks and car haulers on the property.

Keith Pearson, an Oxford attorney representing Jones during the March meeting, told the board that J&J Wholesalers has a salvage yard on 3,000 acres near Marks called Rebel Salvage and a repair shop is located in Sardis, but Jones has his business mail sent to his home address on Highway 7. Jones claims all of the business is done online and is shipped to customers.

“He is not operating a business,” Pearson said.

Pearson claimed the cars Hollowell observed were construction workers hired to do work on the residence being built inside the 8,000-square foot shop. He said the rest of the vehicles all belong to Jones.

“There’s going to be a lot of traffic coming in and out of there,” Jones said. “I have five people working on my living quarters. It’s 4,000-square foot; it’s a lot to put up and I can’t do it by myself.”

Jones’ wife has also been operating an in-home daycare at the location, watching up to five children, which is legal without state approval.

The commission recommended to the supervisors preliminary and final commercial plat approval with the stipulation Jones have a fence constructed on the front of the property and subject to Jones purchasing a building permit. The supervisors will determine what fines will be levied.