Aldermen approve rezoning of former Trinity school to allow operation as charter school

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved the rezoning of about 20 acres at 321 U.S. 61 North to a special use district to allow Cornerstone Church, 321 U.S. 61 North, to lease part of its property to Instant Impact Global Prep Charter School.

The special use district allows the property to operate as either or both a church or school.

That property and its buildings for many years served as Trinity Episcopal Day School. After the school closed in 2018, it was rezoned from a special use district to B-2, which allows for businesses. That move was completed because owners of the property thought it would be easier to sell.

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One Woodhaven subdivision resident, Kenny Jones, whose property backs up to the tennis courts area of the northeast portion of the property, spoke at a public hearing on the issue held during the board’s regular meeting.

Jones objected to the zoning change. He said use of the property as a school may mean that the now-overgrown tennis courts could be used as parking or a recreation area for school children and would change the nature of his property.

Jones said he was also concerned about the fact that the charter school is a public school.

“The other concern is I had no problem with a school combined with a church as it was with Trinity. However, a public school, even though it is a charter school — and I’m all for that — a public school will set different rules and regulations that they are allowed to have, namely bussing and all that too, which is going to change the whole nature of the lease and zoning,” he said.

Ward 2 Alderman Billie Joe Frazier agreed with Jones that traffic could be an issue.

Ward 1 Alderman Valencia Hall said the issue before the aldermen was one of rezoning, which had been approved and recommended by the city’s planning commission.

“Children go to school in buses every day in this community and Concordia Parish and all over this country,” she said.

Following the public hearing, aldermen voted unanimously to allow the zoning change.