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Lafayette County inspector tells planning commission location also has illegal daycare facility onsite

Ryan Jones claims he’s not running an illegal business on Highway 7 North. County Inspector Joel Hollowell says otherwise. On Monday, the Lafayette County Planning Commission heard from both sides.

In September of last year, Jones was granted permission by the commission and Board of Supervisors to build an 8,000-square foot building for personal use at property he owns on Highway 7 North.

“Since that time, a lot of activity has been going on,” Hollowell said.

According to Hollowell, the building has three automotive bays with two car lifts, several vehicles onsite and others parked along the shoulder of Highway 7. During a slideshow presentation, Hollowell photographed 18-wheeler trucks and car haulers on the property.

He also presented a Facebook page indicating a business known as J&J Wholesalers Body, Paint and Diesel Service at the 571 Highway 7 North address.

“I had more than enough evidence to shut him down,” Hollowell said.

Keith Pearson, an Oxford attorney representing Jones, told the board that J&J Wholesalers has a salvage yard on 3,000 acres near Marks called Rebel Salvage and a repair shop is located in Sardis, but Jones has his business mail sent to his home address on Highway 7. Jones claims all of the business is done online and is shipped to customers.

“He is not operating a business,” Pearson said.

Pearson claimed the cars Hollowell observed were construction workers hired to do work on the residence being built inside the 8,000 square foot shop. He said the rest of the vehicles all belong to Jones.

“There’s going to be a lot of traffic coming in and out of there,” Jones said. “I have five people working on my living quarters. It’s 4,000 square foot; it’s a lot to put up and I can’t do it by myself.”

Pearson admitted his client has received vehicle parts on three occasions at his Highway 7 residence that customers ordered, rather than picking up the automotive parts at his business in Sardis.

Daycare also onsite

Jones’ wife is also running an in-home daycare facility that does not have state approval from the Mississippi Department of Health, according to Hollowell.

“He did not have a health department evaluation on that property before he installed a septic system for his house and also used an unlicensed installer as well,” said Hollowell. “The children are in the house without approval from the health department for the sewer system.”

Jones admitted that his wife was watching five children at the residence they are occupying on the property while their permanent residence is being built inside the 8,000-square foot building.

Before it was disabled on Facebook Monday evening, Toddy Tots Childcare Center advertised it was located at the 571 Highway 7 North address and even offered overnight service.

After much discussion, the commission decided Jones needed to come before the board at their next meeting with an application “to do whatever he is doing,” said Commission President TJ Ray. The stop work order was also lifted until “all of this is spelled out in ample detail,” said Ray.

“At our next meeting, let’s get everything out there,” Ray said. “We count the number of babies in the daycare, communicate with the health department about the septic tank, talk about what’s going on here. Because I’ll tell you flat out that if you’re advertising a business and transferring goods, then that’s a business.”