Resort area proposed for Eagle Lake

Published 9:06 am Friday, January 23, 2015

An RV park and a nightspot are in the works near the entrance to Eagle Lake.

About 20 acres behind 500 Shell Beach Road could be cleared of brush soon for development, said Jason Bush, who told Warren County supervisors this week he purchased the property three months ago in the hopes he could obtain resort status on the site, said he plans an array of attractions for the community of about 600 people.

“I plan on building another little store there, a nice little lounge to cater to 35-year-olds and above,” Bush said. “Up there, there’s no place to set and have a place to relax. I also want to build a little restaurant. There’s nothing up there like that and there hadn’t been for a long time.”

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Chotard Landing boat launch and tavern operates farther north, off the part of Mississippi 465 that runs atop the mainline Mississippi River levee just over the Issaquena County line. A resort status on the property was approved in 1999, according to MDOR.

Bush, a former riverboat captain who described the venture as his and his wife’s retirement, was referred to the Mississippi Department of Revenue, which issues the unique designation allowing businesses to serve alcoholic beverages 24/7. The status follows the address of the building in which the business operates.

“Yes, I’d do it, but I’d like to give people everything they’re asking for,” Bush said, adding he has “no enthusiasm” for staying open all night long even if the designation is granted.

District 2 Supervisor William Banks, whose district covers Eagle Lake and has handled previous resort requests in his non-municipal constituency, moved to take his request under advisement, which the county board approved. MDOR lists the hours of sale of alcoholic beverages for Warren County outside municipalities as 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on weekdays and noon to 1:30 a.m on weekends.

Banks said local law enforcement could sway the state agency’s decision.

“It really depends on what the sheriff says,” Banks said after supervisors met Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Sheriff Martin Pace asked the board to consider passing an ordinance to stipulate nightclubs in the county close no later than 2 a.m. Supervisors haven’t acted on that request.

In December, the state OK’d the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s request to restrict alcohol sales at four businesses in the city to before 2 a.m. One of the four, KJ’s River Town Grille, has sued the agency and the city claiming the order singles the businesses out unfairly.

The suit was settled Thursday.