Olive Branch residents battle movie theater development - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Olive Branch residents battle movie theater development

(WMC-TV) - A movie theater being built in an Olive Branch neighborhood is going to bring in jobs and money, but a proposal for another theater in the same neighborhood is causing concern among the people who live nearby.

The theater was already approved once, but zoning issues effectively canceled that approval.

Now would-be neighbors are fighting a cinema struggle.

Wedgewood in Olive Branch has plenty to offer.

It's a quiet neighborhood. Single entry, single exit, which adds a lot to our security," said Steve Heuser, who lives in the Wedgewood neighborhood.

The plot of land behind Heuser's house is being re-zoned from residential to commercial.

Heuser supports the change and says the original plans called for a shopping center, which would feature a restaurant and a bank. But now, the trees are being cleared to make way for a movie theater on Goodman Road.

"So it kinda got by all of us residents by changing that in a meeting that none of us were at because we weren't concerned about it at the time," he explained. "So at the last minute we feel there was a bait an switch pulled on us."

"Well, I haven't had a call yet from anybody that's for the theater," said Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard.

Olive Branch Mayor Sam Rikard says a theater was always a possibility, but he questions its viability considering Malco is building a cinema exactly one mile away.

"We would be happy to have more business in town. I don't know that we'll be that happy to have another theatre there. I tend to agree with the concerns of the residents of that area," said Rikard.

Concerns include extra late-night noise, traffic, crowds, potential crime, and the effect on property values.

Though the work has already begun, the Olive Branch Board of Aldermen have yet to officially and legally approve the theater.

"Our primary message is find a better place for the theater and that would be someplace where it doesn't back up against a neighborhood," said Heuser.

This issue is near the top of the agenda for when the mayor and board of aldermen meet Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

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