Jackson County

The Shed applies for building permit, a day before deadline

Brad Orrison made a big leap this week toward getting The Shed Barbeque and Blues Joint in line with county building codes.

It looks like he is going to get a building permit.

Orrison took plans to county planners Thursday, the day before the deadline set by County Court Judge Larry Wilson.

Planners said they will know more after the engineers go over it all, but “it looks good for The Shed getting a building permit early next week.”

It’s the beginning of a process for Orrison to get up to code the rambling collection of buildings on the property on Mississippi 57 north of Interstate 10.

The Shed burned in 2012 and was quickly rebuilt without building permits or building inspections required by the county. During the next five years, The Shed was embroiled in a legal battle with the Mississippi Department of Transportation over the value of its buildings in an eminent domain case. That case ended earlier this year with The Shed being awarded more than $400,000.

Then came a hearing in County Court on how The Shed was rebuilt without permits, and Orrison agreed he was in violation.

On Feb. 22, Wilson gave Orrison 60 days “to submit proof of substantial progress towards compliance with the Jackson County Building Code,” as well as county flood and zoning ordinances. To defy that would be risking county fines and court proceedings.

It looks like Orrison made the deadline, even if it did go down to the wire.

Getting a building permit for The Shed is more complicated than for the average business, because The Shed is already built but without a permit, Assistant Planning Director Marcus Catchot said.

“We have zero permits out there,” Catchot said.

But all that’s in the past, he said. “What we’re trying to do now is bring them into compliance.”

Catchot is requiring Orrison to submit a complete survey of what’s there now, what will be moved, what will be elevated (such as the bathrooms), how they will secure the kitchen from flood and how they will take out walls in the dining areas to make them more like outdoor dining.

“We’re going to put all that in the permit and let him get to work,” Catchot said.

He also is working with County Court to set a May court date for Orrison to report his progress.

“Judge Wilson wants to review it,” Catchot said, “make sure The Shed is doing what they need to do. He wants to know.”

Catchot said The Shed needs to be a solid, safe building.

“Character is something you add after the fact,” he said. “You can add junk and trinkets to a compliant building; that’s just aesthetics.

“It’s party central out there, with alcohol. You can have a thunderstorm pop up at any time. It’s our responsibility to make sure people who visit that place are safe.”

After Thursday’s meeting, Orrison told the Sun Herald it was his fourth of fifth meeting with county planners. He said he has hired a structural engineer.

“Everything is super-positive and it looks like we should be in line to get permits next week,” he said. “We got it worked out for the best, not only for our customers, but to support tourism.”

He said it won’t look that much different.

“It will always be the same Shed everybody loves.”