The Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission recommended two new ordinances for approval that moves a church closer to operating as private school and a daycare center.
In two 4-0 votes Thursday night, the board gave approval to Kingdom Builders Covenant Church, 1151 Flat Shoals Road, Conyers for two special permits that would allow the place of worship to operate as a private elementary school and a daycare center as an accessory use to the church.
Board member Allan Jones was absent for the meeting and didn’t get a vote, but did make an appearance just before the meeting adjourned.
The first special use permit allows the church to provide private school education for grades kindergarten through fifth. The church initially sought to be a private school for middle school and high school grades as well, but doesn’t meet the required number of acres of land to allow such as use.
According to Rockdale County law, for a private school needs at least 12 acres of land to operate as a middle school and 20 acres to function as a high school, with an additional acre for each 100 students enrolled for both types of schools.
Kingdom Builder Covenant Church sits on five acres of land, which is the minimum required to operate an elementary school privately. The maximum number of children that can be enrolled at one time cannot exceed 99 students.
“By code, once you go over that 100 (students) mark it requires more acreage,” Marshall Walker, director of Planning and Development for Rockdale County, told the board members. “There just isn’t enough acreage.”
Bright from the Start, Georgia’s program for early childhood learning, will determine the max number of children allowed to be enrolled in the daycare at a given time, Walker added.
There’s precedent for this land operating as a private school and a daycare center. The land used to be owned by Midway Holiness Church, also known as Victory Tabernacle. Victory Tabernacle operated as an elementary private school until May 2012 and an early learning center until July 2012.
The ordinances for Victory Tabernacle expired after six months of not being in operation.
There will be a public hearing for both special permits applied for by Kingdom Builders Covenant Church at the Assembly Hall, 901 Main Street, Conyers, on Nov. 25 at 9 a.m.
On Dec. 9, the ordinances will have a second reading in front of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners during its voting session. The county board can either approve, deny or defer the special merits during the meeting, which is scheduled to begin 10 a.m. at the Assemblly Hall.
In other business, the planning board approved of a new ordinance that would redefine the classifications for children and adult daycare centers.
The proposed law will bring the county's law on child and adult day care centers up to the state's standard laws, says Walker.
“We want to get on the same page,” he said. “We don’t want two sets of criteria confusing folks.”
Board member Max McFarlin asked how this new ordinance would affect the City of Conyers, to which Walker told him it would only affect operations based in Rockdale County.
“It actually puts us a little more closely inline to what the city’s (ordinance) is,” said Walker.