Poplarville public hearing set for Tuesday night
Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2017
The Poplarville Board of Aldermen will hold a public hearing Tuesday night to discuss a zoning dispute on North Jackson Street.
The ongoing disagreement concerns a homeschooling program operating at the residence of Kimra Torrence, located at 416 North Jackson St., and a neighbor, Jim Brown of 414 North Jackson St.
The Board’s agenda for Tuesday states the Board will make a determination of its own accord whether Torrence’s use of her home fits the state’s definition of a school and whether such a school conforms to city ordinances.
Torrence came before the Board during the Oct. 18 meeting, where she said Brown, harassed her for years about the noise from her private homeschooling service, previous coverage states.
Members of the audience also told the Board Brown had been seen taking photos of the students in a threatening way, according to previous coverage. Brown would later admit to taking those photos, saying he wanted them as evidence of his claims, not for malicious purposes.
During the Oct. 18 meeting, the Board approved a proclamation granting Torrence “prior existing lawful non-compliance use,” citing a change in city ordinance in 2011, previous coverage states.
Brown spoke to the Board at the subsequent meeting on Nov. 1, presenting Board minutes from 2011 in which Brown said the Board declined Torrence’s request to operate a private tutoring service out of her home, previous coverage states.
Because of the 2011 decision, Brown said the Board’s proclamation made on Oct. 18 was invalid.
Board Attorney Nick Thompson said the former Board took no action on the matter in 2011, nor any other time until Oct. 18, according to previous coverage.
However, after conducing further research, Thompson advised the Board during the Nov. 15 meeting that the proclamation needed to be altered in order to declare Torrence’s services fit within the state’s legal definition of a school, and affirm that a school can operate in any zone, according to previous coverage.
The Board set the public hearing for Jan. 17 during the Dec. 20 meeting to finalize a decision on the matter.
The meeting will begin at 5 p.m. at City Hall, located at the corner of Highway 26 and South Main Street.