Board of Supervisors approves resort-area status for UM athletic venues

Published 3:23 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Lafayette County Board of Supervisors approved a request Monday by the University of Mississippi that would make specific areas on UM’s campus qualified resort areas.

With the supervisor’s approval, the request will now be sent to the Mississippi Department of Revenue.

Should the Department of Revenue approve the resort area qualifications, areas near Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, Pavilion at Ole Miss and other adjoining plazas could serve beer at non-athletic events.

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According to state law, the sale of alcohol is only allowed if an establishment is within the city limits. The sale of beer would still be barred at athletic events.

Lafayette County allows the sale of liquor and wine, but beer sale needs to be approved by the Department of Revenue with a certified resort status.

Amanda Tollison, an attorney who spoke on behalf of the University of Mississippi, said the university believes it has lost out on opportunities to hold concerts and other non-athletic events by not having a resort status.

In the presentation to the supervisors, University Police Chief Ray Hawkins wrote a letter assuring the board all alcoholic beverage control laws and local option laws will be enforced, and that University Police will provide security for any future special events.

Tollison also read the definition of a qualified resort area under Mississippi state law: “Any area, or locality, outside the limits of corporate municipalities in the state, commonly known and accepted as a place that regularly and customarily attracts tourists, vacationists and other transients because of its historical, scenic and recreational facilities or attractions.”

Although the supervisors approved the request, there still is a chance the Department of Revenue denies the application.

“In order to make that application, we need approval and resolution from the board” Tollison told the supervisors.

“I think there’s no doubt this community prides itself on being a tourism draw,” supervisor Kevin Frye said. “A lot of our local economy is based on that.”

Frye made the motion to approve, which was seconded and unanimously approved by the supervisors.