Re­zon­ing for Salem Road day care de­nied

Ne­ces­sity of fa­cil­ity dis­cussed

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rachel Oswald

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers de­nied a con­tro­ver­sial re­zon­ing pro­posal to build a new day care cen­ter on Salem Road at their Tues­day night meet­ing.

The pro­posal to de­velop a 5,732- square foot day care cen­ter with the ca­pac­ity for 100 chil­dren on 1.03 acres in Dis­trict 2 was de­nied by a vote of 3 to 2 with Dis­trict 2 Com­mis­sioner Earnest Sim­mons and Dis­trict 4 Com­mis­sioner J. C. Henderson vot­ing in fa­vor of the pro­posal.

The ap­pli­cant, Grace and Mercy Child De­vel­op­ment Cen­ter, re­ceived ap­proval for their pro­posal from the New­ton County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion on Oct. 23. The ap­pli­cant was seek­ing a re­zon­ing from sin­gle fam­ily res­i­den­tial to of­fice in­sti­tu­tional

Rep­re­sent­ing the ap­pli­cant Tues­day night, Clarence Dawkins said, “ We saw a great need in the area for a day care.”

Op­pos­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion at the meet­ing were over 20 res­i­dents of the Salem Road area who ob­jected to the place­ment of a day care cen­ter in an area which they con­tended was al­ready over­bur­dened with traf­fic. A pe­ti­tion signed by 41 res­i­dents against the pro­posed day care cen­ter was also pre­sented to the board.

Rep­re­sent­ing Salem Road res­i­dent Billy Free­man, At­tor­ney Frank Turner Jr. spoke in op­po­si­tion to the pro­posal, cit­ing re­search from Free­man which listed seven day care cen­ters within a mile and a half of the pro­posed site.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search cited by Turner, those seven day care cen­ters have a com­bined ca­pac­ity to care for 390 chil­dren. Turner said there were only 300 chil­dren cur­rently en­rolled through­out the seven day care cen­ters.

“I think it’s ques­tion­able that the need ex­ists,” Turner said. “Cer­tainly this is the wrong lo­ca­tion.

Speak­ing in fa­vor of the pro­posal Com­mis­sioner Sim­mons said he had heard from at least 10 res­i­dents of the area who were in sup­port of the new day care cen­ter while he had only heard from one res­i­dent who was against it — Billy Free­man.

“I per­son­ally don’t think it’s go­ing to be that dra­matic of an ef­fect,” Dawkins said. “I think change is good. I be­lieve that there is go­ing to be a need for that.”

• The BOC unan­i­mously ap­proved a re­zon­ing pe­ti­tion to de­velop a 15,000-square-foot re­tail es­tab­lish­ment or drive-thru restau­rant on Ga. High­way 20 in Dis­trict 2. The pe­ti­tion was twice de­ferred by the BOC while the ap­pli­cant re­vised plans for the two acre sub­ject site. The site was re­zoned from sin­gle fam­ily res­i­den­tial to com­mer­cial high­way.

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