Residents of an embattled South Canton RV park are still in their homes, but how long they’ll be able to remain is unclear.

On Friday, the Mississippi Supreme Court granted an emergency stay to petitioners Thomas Butchart and Elizabeth Ann Carroll which bars the city of Canton from forcing the residents of the Highway 51 RV Park to remove their homes from the property.

The order, signed by Justice T. Kenneth Griffis, is the latest development in a controversial saga that dates back to a decision by Canton’s board of aldermen to effectively shut down the RV park three years ago.

On August 16, 2016, the board voted down Butchart and Carroll’s request for a special exception to the city’s uniform development code that allowed them to operate an RV park on their property at 2747 South Liberty Street. Butchart and Carroll had received the special exception each year since 2003.

Following the board’s vote, the city gave the tenants 90 days to vacate the property before it began enforcement of the ordinance.

The landowners appealed the board’s decision to deny their request to the Madison County Circuit Court and asked the court to block the city from taking any action against them or their property while the appeals process played out, which it granted.

For nearly three years, the residents of the park went about business as usual, despite the looming court decision.

On June 14, circuit court judge Dewey K. Arthur affirmed the ruling in the city’s favor.

“This court finds that the Board’s denial of Appellants’ application to renew or grant to them a special exception and/or ‘conditional use permit’ is supported by substantial evidence and is not arbitrary or capricious,” Arthur wrote. “Therefore the decision of the Board of Aldermen is affirmed.”

On July 11, the building and development department of the city of Canton issued “Cease and Desist” orders, citing Arthur’s ruling and demanding Butchart and Carroll to cease all operations of the RV park and remove all the mobile homes from the property by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19.

The letter concluded with a threat of legal action if the city’s order were not met.

“Failure to comply with this Cease and Desist order will result in legal action,” it said.

Butchart and Carroll, through their attorney James Herring, appealed Arthur’s ruling to the Mississippi Court of Appeals and filed another request for a stay - this time from the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court granted that motion Friday, just hours before the city’s deadline.

“We find that the petitioners would suffer irreparable harm absent a stay and that the public interest supports staying the matter until the issues are resolved on appeal,” Justice T. Kenneth Griffis wrote. “After due consideration, we find that the petitioners motion should be granted. Until further order of the Court, the City of Canton shall not take any action in an effort to remove the tenants from the property or to affect their ability to access the property.”

It is unclear when the appeals court will issue a judgement in the case.