CONYERS — Homeowners looking to open a children’s day care in their home met opposition from residents and suggestions from the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners at a public hearing May 28.
Ahmad and Danielle Brooks are asking for a special use permit to operate the day care for between three and six children, ages 6 weeks to 3 years old. The Brooks live at 4284 Village Green Circle in Conyers, off Christian Circle in southeast Rockdale. The property is zoned R-1 (Single Family Residential) and is designated on the county’s future land use map as low density residential.
The Planning and Zoning staff recommended approval of the SUP, but the Planning Commission deadlocked in a 2-2 vote and moved the application forward without a recommendation.
Post 1 Commissioner Sherri Washington asked what the concerns of the commission were, and Denise Brooks of Planning and Zoning said increased traffic and having a business in a residential neighborhood were the main objections.
Danielle Brooks said they will be regulated by Bright from the Start: Georgia’s Department of Early Care and Learning, so the home will be inspected and regulated by an outside source, and that after the children reach 3 years old, they will leave the day care and go into a pre-K program.
Ahmad Brooks said the yard will be fenced so the children cannot get out into the neighborhood. He said because they own the home, the last thing they want to do is decrease the value of property in the neighborhood, because that will affect them as well.
Commission Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. encouraged the Brookses to talk to all of their neighbors.
“Three to six kids will bring an increase of traffic flow and a concern for safety inside a subdivision where people already reside and other children play,” he said. “You live in a subdivision. It is going to impact all of those people one way or another.”
Nesbitt said while the county supports small businesses, the BOC has to take into consideration the impact of local businesses on the entire community.
Several people spoke in opposition to the request.
Garvin Haynes said he owns a house adjacent to the property and called the SUP request an example of “spot zoning,” and said the request is inconsistent with the current zoning map and land use map. He added that the application review standards are more than enough reasons to deny the request.
“If we allow this to happen in this subdivision, it can happen in any subdivision, anywhere,” Haynes said. “Please do not open up this floodgate.”
George Kelechek expressed concern about the increase in traffic and noise. He also said that, according to code, the residence does not have a large enough septic system to support a business.
Don Meyer said he applauded the Brookses for what they want to do but said the problem is when there is in-home day care, the liability for neighbors goes up exponentially due to concerns of the children getting out in the area.
He said until the county gets the code for special use permits straightened out and starts enforcing special conditions, they should not issue any SUPs in the county.
The BOC will vote on the SUP request at its meeting Tuesday.