Council grants DuPree’s zoning change request

By HASKEL BURNS,

In the spirit of maintaining the character of the North Main Street neighborhood, members of Hattiesburg City Council have granted former Mayor Johnny DuPree’s request to rezone his home from its current B-2 (neighborhood business) designation to R-1A (residential).

Council voted 5-0 Tuesday to change the designation on the Main Street home, following an April 3 public hearing before the Hattiesburg Planning Commission. Andrew Ellard, director of Hattiesburg’s Urban Development Department, told council members Monday that the house was built in 1901, and has served as a residential structure since then.

“So really, this (zoning change request) is for the protection that R-1A type property in that area,” he said. “We did have a look into (when the property was zoned B-2), and there’s a stretch there from 4th Street to 7th Street where you’ve got some business use.

“But obviously, nothing over time has converted to that, with the exception of those corners at 7th Street and 4th Street. Everything between has remained residential and very nice homes.”

In a memo to city officials, DuPree said his family has lived at the home since 2002.

“One of the families who lived at this location included attorney Doug Montague’s family,” DuPree said in the memo. “So for at least 100 years, this property has been used as a single-family residential dwelling. When we purchased the property in 2002, it was in a dilapidated condition and very close to being condemned.

“My wife and I invested heavily, as others have done in this neighborhood, to upgrade our property. Our desire is to protect the character of our neighborhood, preserve property values and keep crime as low as possible. My wife and I have purchased and renovated four additional properties in this neighborhood, our daughter moved from Jackson and purchased a home in this neighborhood, and we recruited new home owners in an effort to accomplish our goal for this neighborhood.”

Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden thanked DuPree and his family for their efforts in the neighborhood.

“I feel very grateful to the DuPrees for maintaining that beautiful home and preserving its history,” she said. “I really am grateful for that.”