On Thursday, Whitney Webb asked Pike County supervisors to consider grant-ing resort status to Rosco’s, his bar on Highway 98 East, McComb.
Board attorney Wayne Dowdy said Webb must also get permission from the State Tax Commission, which can overrule supervisors. Resort status would allow Webb to sell liquor and wine and stay open later.
Dowdy said to qualify as a resort, a place must attract “tourists, vacationists or other transients” and have “historical, scenic or recreational” value.
Webb said he hopes to draw people from other areas with concerts, pool tournaments, softball and camping. He said he spoke with the tax commission, and “first and foremost we need a vote from the board in support of or against.”
If the board votes no, he will need a petition with 100 signatures from area residents and letters of support from three civic organizations and the sheriff, he said.
Dowdy recalled the case of Jerkytt Estates on Highway 568 in 2007, when supervisors voted against resort status but the state overrode them.
“The largest reason was because the area residents just didn’t think it would be OK for that community,” said Supervisor Tazwell Bowsky, explaining the board’s opposition,
“I’ll just tell you right now, there’s going to be some voices out there, and those voices are going to want to be assured that they’re safe,” Bowsky told Webb.
Webb said he has hosted wedding receptions, birthday parties and plans to host small conventions.
Supervisor Robert Accardo noted the business is located at a former salvage yard.
“Mr. Webb has taken what was essentially a derelict property and done great things with it,” he said.
Accardo said he wants to hear from the public before making a decision.
“Let this board get some feedback from the public before we take this any farther,” he said.
“We need to see if there’s going to be any opposition in that community.”
Sheriff James Brumfield asked Webb to give him a walk-through as well.
Prior boards haven’t been too open to resort status requests. In 2017 supervisors rejected requests from Big Easy Poboys & Daiquiris on River Ridge Road, and from Sue Dhaliwal for a liquor and convenience store on Sunshine Mountain Road in Chatawa.
In 2016 they rejected a request from Dhaliwal for a package liquor store in the Fernwood community on Highway 51 north of Magnolia.