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Day care in Summerville OK'd

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The Augusta Commission spent more than an hour Tuesday evening hearing both sides in a debate over whether Woodlawn United Methodist should open a child care center in the Walton Way church's educational building.

The commission eventually approved the child care center over the objections of its attorney and planning director, along with a number of opposed Summerville residents.

The decision pitted displaced University Hospital day care personnel against nearby Summerville residents. Woodlawn is immediately adjacent to the residences of Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles and Georgia Health Sciences University President Ricardo Azziz.

Although the planning commission last week recommended granting a special exception for the child care center, Planning Director George Patty told Augusta commissioners Tuesday that they'd made a mistake in allowing Woodlawn to apply to open a parochial or private school.

"We didn't pick it up," Patty said. "What they've described is a day care."

Arguing on behalf of Woodlawn neighbor Harris Clay and Summerville residents, attorney Jack Long detailed the Summerville neighborhood's land use plan, adopted by the commission, which prohibits spot zonings for commercial or professional uses, and presented documents showing Woodlawn was being transferred ownership of University Hospital's for-profit child care center. "What you're saying is any church can move a commercial enterprise into their church and operate as a moneymaking position under the fact that they are the church," Long said.

Representing Woodlawn, attorney Ed Enoch said that along Walton Way from Woodlawn at Milledge Road to First Baptist Church, there were 10 churches providing child care.

The child care center "is a school because it educates children," Enoch said, and it was "not going to change the character of this neighborhood."

Woodlawn's pastor said the church had learned of University shutting down its child care and offered to take over caring for its approximately 100 children. The move will save the jobs of people who have worked for University for as long as 40 years, he said.

Recommending against allowing the child care center, Deputy General Counsel Wayne Brown said it did not meet the state's criteria for being a school and shouldn't be allowed the exception a school might receive. Enoch said the city was expanding its definition of a school beyond what was actually in its ordinances.

The decision had drawn so many to the meeting, 52 for the day care and 50 against, that City Administrator Fred Russell asked attendees uninterested in the matter to step out of the commission chamber to make room.

A motion made by Commissioner J.R. Hatney to allow the facility passed with just three votes against, from Matt Aitken, Bill Lockett and Bowles.

Commissioners delete first version of manual changes

Commissioners took two votes Tuesday related to the personnel manual.

After much discussion, the commission voted 8-2 to delete the version of a personnel manual that passed 6-3 for a first reading on Feb. 1.

The version had included just the change requested by Commissioner Jerry Brigham, that the administrator may make recommendations to the commission on employment of department heads but not hire them outright.

Instead, they approved 6-4 a version of the manual with Brigham's and other revisions introduced during two meetings of Augusta's administrative services committee.

Commissioner J.R. Hatney said the revisions constitute a change in Augusta's form of government and require eight votes to pass. The opinion of the city's law office is that the moves require just six votes under the city charter.

Commissioner Joe Jackson's motion to approve the handbook was seconded by Matt Aitken. Hatney, Bill Lockett, Corey Johnson and Al Mason voted against it. The changes are expected to provide a framework for a governmental restructuring that City Administrator Fred Russell has proposed.

The commission also voted to refer Lockett's recommendation to implement a hiring freeze during the restructuring back to the city finance committee for discussion .

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Fiat_Lux
15369
Points
Fiat_Lux 02/15/11 - 07:51 pm
0
0
Things are not going to stay

Things are not going to stay the same way they have been for the last 100+ years, and if we don't start pulling together, we really are going to fall apart.

Maybe there's a lot that hasn't been reported about the Hill residents' issues with this day care center, but it's incredible to think they would begrudge this church's helping out working parents who need decent, reliable care for their little ones, SO THEY CAN WORK!

raul
4843
Points
raul 02/15/11 - 07:58 pm
0
0
I must have missed this one.

I must have missed this one. I can't say that I understand the issues based upon what is written in the brief article.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 02/15/11 - 08:06 pm
0
0
Well, this is one time I

Well, this is one time I disagree with Joe Bowles. Its a daycare center, not a bazooka firing range...

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/15/11 - 08:20 pm
0
0
Joes is representing his

Joes is representing his constituentcy, which is against this move. Personally, I am glad it passed. Right next door to EDS, there is NO WAY it is going to detrimental to Walton Way.

scoobynews
3854
Points
scoobynews 02/15/11 - 09:20 pm
0
0
The issue was increased

The issue was increased traffic. Yeah my son's day care is a constant hub of traffic activity ((rollin eyes)). As said by Fiat, what is wrong with giving working parents a place that they feel comfortable taking their children to while they work. Picking a daycare is not easy for any parent and it is not one that a person takes lightly. Obviously the church felt there was strong enough of a need so they went about it the way they were suppose to and won.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 02/15/11 - 09:59 pm
0
0
Gentleman, The issue here is

Gentleman, The issue here is the law.... A daycare in a residential zoning violates county and state zoning requirements. You all need to get the facts before judging. We will lose this one the first day in court......

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/15/11 - 10:03 pm
0
0
Walton Way is residential

Walton Way is residential zoning? ASU, EDS, and three huge churches can go, but not a daycare center? That is bizarre.

marie2492
0
Points
marie2492 02/15/11 - 10:14 pm
0
0
I know there is a god. I have

I know there is a god. I have two beautiful children that will be attending the woodlawn child development center. They currently attend University Hospital child development center and I am so relieved that my children will be able to stay with the same workers and that their routine will not be changes. My children are very happy and thats what matters. I attended the meeting tonight and thought that the arguemnets were all presented very well. It wasnt about it being a daycare this all started over someone thinking it was a traffic issue. Thank you to the commissioners that voted for the center and I will pray for the ones that didnt. I will also pray for all the people that were against the center. GOD IS GOOD!!!!!

tl-bro
155
Points
tl-bro 02/15/11 - 10:20 pm
0
0
Joe - if Woodlawn's use as a

Joe - if Woodlawn's use as a daycare is not permissible under the zoning, then why was this just a Special Exception to the existing zoning and not a request for zoning change? There is a big difference.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 02/15/11 - 10:46 pm
0
0
ti-bro, They claimed it was a

ti-bro, They claimed it was a parochial/ private school thus only needing a special exemption. Our staff and counsel concluded they were not a school but a daycare.
Austin, you might want to call me and get the facts pertaining to schools vs daycare and the law.. You are on the wrong side of the law on this one.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/15/11 - 11:08 pm
0
0
I am sure you are likely

I am sure you are likely right Joe, as far as the letter of the law goes. But the law is garbage, and needs to be adjusted. There will be NO discernible affect on the neighborhood there, Walton Way is and always has been a major thoroughfare...that isn't changing.

Just as the commission passed what they needed to pass to TECHNICALLY meet the letter of the law on the changes in government, you guys need to figure out how to LEGALLY do the right thing and allow a ready made daycare center to be put to good use.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/15/11 - 11:10 pm
0
0
...and I do have to ask...why

...and I do have to ask...why do parochial schools get special protection under the law, but the regular heathens are left wanting?

God don't like ugly.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
33
Points
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 02/16/11 - 12:25 am
0
0
Joe; You know we think the

Joe; You know we think the world of you. The law is made to serve people, not people to serve the law. It is for this reason that the County Commission is so important and your availability to us to debate these things so precious. In this case our System of checks and balances worked. Remember the law brings death but the spirit brings life. This time the Spirit won and we are glad. We need more schools, daycares, and jobs, not less.

raul
4843
Points
raul 02/15/11 - 11:23 pm
0
0
The article was updated

The article was updated extensively since my initial posting at 6:58 p.m. The issues are clear now. Thanks AC.

Einstein
0
Points
Einstein 02/15/11 - 11:31 pm
0
0
What a waste of time this

What a waste of time this was... Can't believe they spent so much time talking about this.

daviddunagan
331
Points
daviddunagan 02/15/11 - 11:38 pm
0
0
For those of you who were not

For those of you who were not at the meeting, the day care director stated this will be a government susidized day care center. I hope the University Hospital employees don't pull their kids out because of this.
David Dunagan, Summerville Neighborhood resident

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 02/15/11 - 11:48 pm
0
0
Austin, I guess your okay

Austin, I guess your okay with your double standard of when the law is good and when its not?
As for a parochial school getting special treatment, that because it's a school, not a 14 hour a day business. Also last I checked parochial schools free up $$$$$ for our public schools.
If we want to talk about why Summerville has high property values it's because of planning not BS friendship zoning exemptions!

Kenneth
0
Points
Kenneth 02/16/11 - 12:15 am
0
0
Joe, you might want to

Joe, you might want to surrender. Your debate has gone from the law, to school verses daycare, hours of operation, and now it's property values.
I'm at a lost or is it all of the above or is property value the driving force. I didn't read about that being discussed in the marble palace.

dichotomy
32801
Points
dichotomy 02/16/11 - 12:22 am
0
0
So they watered down the

So they watered down the personnel manual to keep their hand in the hiring and the violated their own planning and zoning.

Don't ever depend on the zoning laws in this county to protect your property values or the livability of your neighborhood. Our Planning and Zoning and our Commissioners will screw you every time. The law is only the law sometimes. Especially if it is a church that is asking for the exception or variance. And after they violate the zoning and decrease your property values, the Appeal Board will not see it that way and will still keep your vaulation high. "No, we don't see where that 4000 gallon chlorine tank next to your house hurts your property value".

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/16/11 - 12:50 am
0
0
No double standard Joe, I did

No double standard Joe, I did not advocate breaking the law, but I do advocate changing a bad law, and this would be a prime example.

Aquinas is a parochial school, and between football games, plays, concerts, basketball games etc, they go almost non-stop.

This daycare would be a drop in the bucket compared to what ASU, Reid Memorial, or EDS does to the neighborhood. And when you consider you can hit the Bon Air and it's wonderful residents with a nine iron from that spot...these concerns are a bit silly.

Follow the law if it is clear and righteous, but change the law if it is
stupid.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/16/11 - 12:54 am
0
0
It's not like they are

It's not like they are opening a KFC, an autoparts store, an x-mart or a gas station at this location. It's a freakin day care at a church where a day is already located. So we can talk about technicalities all we want..but how about common sense? Take drive up Walton Way, you have a hotel, numerous professional offices, upteen dozen churches (many with existing daycares), a library, and a university. This makes certain people in Summerville look very petty. I just noticed in the story that attorney Jack Long and deputy city counsel Wayne Brown took the same side on the daycare zoning.. hmm well that's very interesting isn't it? Not the first time that has happened.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 02/16/11 - 12:57 am
0
0
And weren't these the same

And weren't these the same busybodies complaining about the attractive murals on the waterworks retaining wall at Highland and Wrightsboro? These people seriously need to get a hobby.

...point to ponder
755
Points
...point to ponder 02/16/11 - 01:00 am
0
0
This was a poor decision by

This was a poor decision by the Commissioners. This intersection will become even more congested. I believe we'll have more improper turns without proper policing by the Sheriff's department leading to more risks of more accidents.

No one studied the traffic that WILL have an impact on this area.

No one pointed out the downward pressure this additional for profit activity will have on the areas property values.

No one pointed out that the Church does not currently pay property taxes but WILL now in that they are running a for profit day care center.

As I drive this area everyday...multiple times...I did not see any county vehicles or personnel there during this posting period doing any traffic studies, traffic counts, etc... making sure the full commission had full information about this erroneous special exception request.

And I beg to differ with the daycare attorney BUT the character in this quadrant of Summerville will in fact change since now we have gone from a Sunday service Church with minimal weekday use with very little impact in the neighborhood TO a 5 day a week daycare center plus Saturday programs and then Church on Sunday. I'd say that is a character change! The Commission "failed" to look at the "combined impact" of all the other activities within a one or two block area. In this matter, the math adds up to short and long term issues/problems that will need Commission attention in the future---something they could have avoided if they followed state law.

This approval will come back and bite somebody in the butt.

marie2492
0
Points
marie2492 02/16/11 - 01:42 am
0
0
mr, bowles, mr. neal and to

mr, bowles, mr. neal and to whom ever else this relates to.,
Please just let us be. we will prove you wrong this will be the best thing that could happen. Look at the REALLY values here there are several workers of the uh center that will not lose jobs that helps t he umeployment rate also and most importantly the CHILDREN how are you all forgetting about the true reason for this center to happen. I wish that you all had the true facts from deep inside the uh child center and not just the hear say. We are a family only looking for a new home for our children. as far as the traffic issue is it gong to be a problem when us parents want to attend church there regularly on sunday mornings because we found a new church home or will that affect the traffic flow too.there is alot at stake here and unless you know the facts you shouldnt be negative or be against this decision.

bettyboop
7
Points
bettyboop 02/16/11 - 07:55 am
0
0
"For those of you who were

"For those of you who were not at the meeting, the day care director stated this will be a government susidized day care center"......................................................Is this true???

corgimom
32209
Points
corgimom 02/16/11 - 08:36 am
0
0
Who cares if it's a

Who cares if it's a government subsidized day care center? What does that have to do with anything?

I'd be ok living next to a day care center. Open at 6am, close at 6pm, quiet at night. The only noise is when the kids are outside playing- and to me, that's a good sound. Kids playing and having fun, not getting into trouble.

The idea that it would create a "traffic problem" on Walton Way is just ludicrous.

Austin Rhodes
2862
Points
Austin Rhodes 02/16/11 - 09:13 am
0
0
Anyone have any idea how this

Anyone have any idea how this is a "for profit" daycare center? Who owns it now (University Hospital...which may have had to list this as "for profit" so as NOT to come under the scrutiny of certain medical regulators), and who is it being sold to? (Woodlawn? A CHURCH...which is by nature NON-PROFIT)

Very odd set of circumstances here...

jones255
0
Points
jones255 02/16/11 - 09:26 am
0
0
@point to ponder -- Actually,

@point to ponder -- Actually, the zoning commission DID do a traffic study. It was done at University. They already know how many cars-per-hour are on Walton Way. They needed to see how many more would be added. And maybe, if all you Summerville snobs will draw your horns in a little, you might be able to bring your grandkids to the new and improved playground. @corgimom - and wait till you see the kids @ Halloween and Christmas -- priceless. And my "kid" turns 25 this year.

grinder48
1949
Points
grinder48 02/16/11 - 09:31 am
0
0
The decision to allow this is
Unpublished

The decision to allow this is wrong, period. Definitely against the law, will definitely increase traffic congestion, not only on Walton Way (which was / is not designed for even current traffic load) but also on John's Rd and Milledge Rd and others as cars loop through the neighborhood to enter and exit the day care center. Certainly there are other solutions for the people now using the Uni Hosp day care. As is typical, Austin Rhodes posts above are off base (how could that possibly be, he's an expert on EVERYTHING!) and Joe Bowles is once again dead on the target.

jones255
0
Points
jones255 02/16/11 - 09:35 am
0
0
@Austin - It is actually a

@Austin - It is actually a loss, when you figure everything in. For years, University has used it as a benefit, to sell to prospective employees. Woodlawn has been such a good neighbor to Summerville residents, that I think they were really shocked, and probably more, hurt by the anger. Guess this gives everyone a chance to see Summerville's true colors, and they are ugly.

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