Members of the Emerson Planning and Zoning Commission heard the first reading of a conditional use permit request for a proposed child care facility located inside Excel Christian Academy at a public meeting last week.
“We’ve recently gone through this with the child care facility that’s been located on Sixth Street,” said Emerson Assistant City Manager Todd Heath. “In order for a facility to obtain a child care license, they have to get zoning certification from the local community — so that means we have to certify that the property meets zoning for a child care facility.”
Heath noted that the City’s zoning ordinance does not allow child care facilities in residentially-zoned areas without a conditional use permit.
“You can understand,” he said. “You wouldn’t want a day care to pop up next door at a subdivision without someone saying ‘Hey, this looks good’ or ‘Maybe this isn’t a good idea.’”
Representing Excel at the public meeting was Jerry Haney, a member of the school’s board of trustees. He told commission members that the organization wants to relocate the Cartersville Child Care Center from 325 Old Mill Road in Cartersville to inside the private school facility located at 54 Seventh St. in Emerson.
“On the northeast side, there’s two pods of eight classrooms each,” Haney described the layout of the facility. “The northernmost pod would be where the elementary classes will be, the center pod across from the internal entrance to the gymnasium is where the child care facility will be located, those eight classrooms.”
Haney said the proposed child care center would service about 105-115 children and employ about 25-30 people.
“We’re going to be losing about two classrooms full, because just the amount of space that we’re able to allocate here, as opposed to what we’re currently allocating,” he said. “We’re right at 100 right now.”
Tentatively, he said the hours of operation for the proposed child care facility would be from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
“Child care is a little different from school, because you have pretty much set drop-off times and pick-up times for the school days, where child care — depending on the parents’ work schedule — they’re in and out of there, still for the most part mainly in the morning and afternoon,” he said. “But it being child care, anytime during the day.”
A second reading of the request for a conditional use permit is set for a planning and zoning commission meeting scheduled for Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. at Emerson City Hall, located at 700 Highway 293.
“It gives the community time to understand what’s going on and voice their opinion,” Heath said.
Members of the planning and zoning commission also voted to recommend approval of a new City sign ordinance at Thursday’s meeting.
“Some of our language regulated the content of a sign, we made sure to take care of that so that it doesn’t,” Heath said. “It’s up to date as best as we know.”
The ordinance rewrite, Heath said, also adds an appeals process for those who have been denied a sign request by City officials.
“There’s a few new definitions to clarify some different types of signs, but in general, all the dimensions stay the same,” he said. “Roughly all of the signs that weren’t allowed still aren’t allowed.”
Commissioners also voted to recommend approval of a request to rezone roughly seven acres along Franklin Loop from residential to C-2 commercial.
“It does meet the intention of our future land use map,” Heath said. “The expectation was that the properties adjacent to Highway 41 would eventually rezone to commercial.”
The rezoning proposal will head to the Emerson City Council for further review. A second reading of the request — and a potential council vote on the matter — is currently scheduled for an Aug. 10 public meeting at 7 p.m.
Heath wrapped up the meeting with a few rapid-fire updates on various developments throughout Emerson.
“The council has recently approved an intergovernmental agreement with Bartow County to serve sewer on the south end of Bartow County, along the old Highway 293,” he said. “It looks like it could pave the way for our plant to serve, probably, south Bartow County in the future — we have plenty of capacity and plenty of land to expand.”
Meanwhile, Heath said work continues on a series of buildings within the River Point industrial park
development along Joe Frank Harris Parkway.
“They’re working on a revised set of plans,” he said. “They pretty much know who’s going to go in one of them, so they’re getting ready to permit the tenant finish, then there’s another building — a larger building — we’ve been contacted by economic development out of Bartow, I think they’re pushing that building pretty heavy.”