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.