Public hearing held for rezoning in Prentiss

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Town of Prentiss held a public hearing to after a request was made to rezone the property at 1228 Third Street from R1 residential to R3 multi-family residential.

Shequita Stonewall, a resident of Lawrence County, purchased the property to open an early childhood learning center for children in Jefferson Davis County. “We want better students, better adults and better communities,” said Stonewall. “If we can start early, we will have a great impact on making that happen.” Community members were in attendance to show support to Stonewall. Jane Moore Weathersby, who works in the JDC school system, spoke on her behalf. “You would be surprised how many come into kindergarten that are not prepared for kindergarten,” said Weathersby. “I feel like we need to have services here to prepare our children. Not only does early childhood education prepare them for being an educated adult, but it also prepares them to be a productive citizen.”

Proposed hours of operation for the learning center are 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. According to Stonewall, the State conducted a preliminary walkthrough and stated the facility is large enough to hold 25-30 students. Stonewall said it met all qualifications with the State and it was  approved that it could be used as a daycare and learning facility, with a few things having to be done to the structure as far as codes.  The only thing left to do was have it be rezoned. The facility would employ five to seven staff members including a food service worker. There would be no criteria to be accepted on the child’s part.

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Prentiss Mayor Charley Dumas opened the floor for anyone to speak in opposition. “I have had several homeowners speak to me against it,” said Alderman Willie Davis. “Most of those opposing the rezoning feel like it is going to decrease the value of their homes in the community.”

“Value of homes in JDC are already decreased because of the community and all the crime and negativity that is attached to the community,” said a Stonewall supporter. “I have never seen a community go down because a community is educating children.”

There was also a question regarding the former daycare across the street from the location in question. “The Town did not adopt ordinances until the 1970s,” said Dumas. Those operating businesses in residential areas prior to that time were grandfathered in.

“There is not a person at this table that doesn’t believe in what you are talking about and what you are after,” said Alderman Randy Stamps.

But look at our position, when we have start rezoning in a residential area, we have to look at it pretty seriously. We don’t know the future is going to bring. Or how it is going to involve the people that live next to these properties. “We don’t want to put any kind of stress on people who live here in town who may have bought that house because it is a quiet place. We have to look at all those things and that’s what we try to do to make the right decision for the town.”. The Town zoning includes commercial, residential and industrial. Areas that are zoned residential are expected to be residential. “If this were a commercial property this discussion wouldn’t even be happening.” There is no zoning in place out in the county.

The board then called its regular meeting to order and tabled the decision on rezoning the property until a future meeting.

The board adopted a resolution accepting monies from the Mississippi Law Enforcement and Fire Fighters Premium Pay Fund which provides provide law enforcement officers and fire fighters premium pay for their heightened risk during the ongoing federal COVID-19 public health emergency.



The board approved July minutes and claims and adjustments before the meeting was adjourned.