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Doll’s House promoters pursue new location

Leaders of Doll’s House have decided not to appeal the Brookhaven Board of Adjustments’ decision against granting them an exemption to the city’s zoning law.

     Johnny and Stephanie Turner with Doll’s House said after talking to more residents in the area and taking more time to consider it, they did not want to appeal and have a second hearing in front of the board.

     “We talked to residents there, and they said they were supportive of the ministry, but were against us coming to the neighborhood,” said Johnny Turner. “So we decided to not appeal at this time out of respect to them and the aldermen.”

     At a meeting on Sept. 7, the Brookhaven Board of Adjustments ruled to not grant Doll’s House an exemption to the city’s zoning laws to use the former Serenity House on North Church Street. The ruling was based on enough people voicing concerns and opposition to Doll’s House locating in their neighborhood.

     The Turners are still working to find a site for Doll’s House, which would be a transitional facility for women in need, and would include women recently released from prison as well as women in need of a home and looking to learn skills after being divorced or abused.

     “We respect the decisions of the aldermen, mayor and public officials. We will seek other locations in the city,” Johnny Turner said. “We can’t say where they are at this time.”

     Despite being turned back, the Turners said they will continue to move forward.

     “We still have the same approach,” said Johnny Turner. “We’re still looking for a site to minister to the ladies in the Brookhaven-Lincoln County area. We still look to be in Brookhaven.”

     Another potential location for Doll’s House is expected to be announced within the next few weeks, said Johnny Turner.

     The Turners both said the process so far has surprised them, as people have been more supportive and interested than they initially thought.

     “Overall, the experience was encouraging,” said Stephanie Turner. “I wouldn’t say it was disappointing. We want to be respectful of the community. We’re encouraged that the community was concerned as much as they were. It helped bring awareness, and that was a major thing.”

     After the hearing, the Turners said they have received much support from people that are in favor of their ministry.

     “We are receiving input,” said Johnny Turner. “Many have come forward in support of what we’re doing and are trying to help us find a site.”

     The fundraiser the Turners are working on in order to get the necessary funding for their ministry is ongoing. Johnny Turner said it is coming along well, with about 25 percent of the tickets sold so far for the new Toyota Yaris that was donated by Legacy Toyota.

     “It has picked up greatly over the past few weeks,” he said. “We ask everyone to continue to support us.”

     The fundraiser’s early bird drawing for $500 will be Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. at Legacy Toyota.