VALDOSTA -- The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission recommended tabling a special exception request for a Group Day Care in order for the applicant to work out parking problems with the city engineer.

Sharon Moore requested the special exception to keep 18 children in a multi-family zoning district along East Gordon Street.

Staff planners with the South Georgia Regional Development Center recommended denial for the request citing inadequate parking and drop off areas to handle that volume of children. Planners also noted that a large daycare could have adverse effects for a largely residential neighborhood.

"This is a commercial scale daycare, and the resulting traffic and noise would not be in keeping with the residential character," planners wrote in their recommendation to Commissioners. "Eighteen children coming and going each day will draw a significant amount of traffic each morning and afternoon ... staff is concerned about the parking and drop off area not having adequate space without interrupting the streetscape in this area."

RDC planners consistently recommend denial for group daycare exceptions in residential areas.

City Engineer Von Shipman concurred, writing that a drop off area must be added to the site plan and that the parking layout was "neither safe nor approved."

Moore told the Commission that she also owns an adjacent house on Myrtle Street where she currently operates a smaller home daycare, which is a matter-of-right in a multi-family zoning district.

Moore said she wished to expand her business and was anticipating having three additional employees. She also said she was willing to consider keeping fewer children if that condition proved necessary for the request to be granted.

The Commission unanimously tabled the request to give Moore a chance to work out an acceptable parking arrangement.

The Commission also unanimously voted to table Larry Dean's race track proposal for another month. Both Dean and his opposition asked that the request to rezone 40-plus acres from Agricultural Use to Highway Commercial be tabled until the parties could complete separate studies on the noise levels the track might generate and the effectiveness of countermeasures.

The controversial proposal has now been tabled at three consecutive meetings. The Lowndes County Board of Commissioners is also expected to table the request at its Dec. 10 meeting in order to get a recommendation from the Planning Commission and RDC planners.

To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.

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