Tupelo rejects CarMax proposal

Tupelo StockBy Robbie Ward
Daily Journal

TUPELO – The future looks uncertain for used car company CarMax’s possible $5 milllion investment in Tupelo after the City Council voted to not approve the company’s proposed site.

The City Council voted 4-3 to overrule the Tupelo Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve a conditional use for the Fortune 500 business to locate on Tom Watson Drive. Council members voted after hearing from used car dealership owners who said they were told more than a decade ago that they couldn’t build used car lots in the Barnes Crossing District Overlay.
BJ Teal, director of development services for the city, said when CarMax representatives approached the city a year ago about locating a used car business at the Barnes Crossing area, the city’s development code allowed it if a variance was granted.

Currently, the Barnes Crossing District Overlay, which includes parts of North Gloster Street’s large retail businesses and restaurants, hasn’t included used car dealerships.

Rudy Dossett of Dessett Big 4 Motors located on South Gloster Street said approving the CarMax request after rejecting local business owners’ requests in previous years isn’t fair to local businesses.

“It’s not fair when you unlevel the playing field,” he said. “We’ve tried to get up there and they said no.”

Council members Willie Jennings of Ward 7, Markel Whittington of Ward 1, Mike Bryan of Ward 6 and Jim Newell of Ward 3 opposed the planning committee’s recommendation to allow CarMax to locate in the area. Council members Lynn Bryan of Ward 3, Buddy Palmer of Ward 5 and Nettie Davis of Ward 4 supported it.

With the car dealership not receiving permission to build on the site requested, it can appeal the City Council’s decision in Lee County Court. Another option, the company can wait until the city approves the proposed development code waiting for council approval, planning committee or Council Council approval to locate at the site.

But no timetable exists for the Council to approve the new development code. The council failed to approve the new development code in June by a 3-3 vote.


  • cindirutledgeparker

    Boo hoo! Sounds like someone is scared of competition. They will let a airplane recycle company move in which is going to cost 700,000of tax payers money to fix a runway, but they won’t okay this because a few guys don’t want to compete with a Fortune 500 company?! Does the council ever think this kind of thing through? Tupelo Council is so stupid.


    I AGREE…..Sounds like Dossett Big 4 got his drawers in a wad. Someone needs to give Dossett Big 4 some competition. Here is a quarter Dossett call someone who cares…Let CarMax come on in and put a whipping on some of these car dealers. Maybe they will stand by their cars if something was to go wrong and not give you the run around. Tupelo City Council…buy a clue and do the right thing for once…let Car Max in.

  • Tupelo_Guy

    …and the Honeymoon with City Council have ended.