A planned day care that has sparked controversy in neighborhoods along Hardy-McManus Road got the green light this week from Columbia County commissioners.
Commissioners approved a change in the zoning from special use for a church to special use for a day care for the 5-acre lot near the Stratford subdivision Tuesday night. David Dunn plans to build a branch of A Child's World, which has 9 other locations in the area.
But commissioners approval came with a caveat - one of the most extensive lists of development conditions OK'd in recent years. The nine conditions - ranging from lighting restrictions to a required 40-foot natural buffer - must be followed for the development to continue.
Nearby residents were split on the day care - some saw it as a potentially good neighbor, while others said it would destroy the neighborhood.
David Carr said he was initially opposed to the development.
"I have learned so much since my original objection," he said. "The planning commission has done an incredible job in doing its best for those of us in the are to continue enjoying the country-like atmosphere."
He said the development will be a nice addition to the area.
"I think this is something that would work well," he said. "I think it'll be a good neighbor."
But, Helen Stephens said Carr's opinion didn't represent everyone in the area.
"Our little bit of countryside, with the acceptance of this business, will disappear," she said.
She begged commissioners to not approve the request.
"I'm asking you to protect our neighborhood over the business interest of just one person," she said.
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