BOC approves permit for senior home

COVINGTON - County commissioners recently approved a conditional-use permit for a personal care home on Salem Road.

The facility will be located in a residence at 3440 Salem Road that is zoned CN (neighborhood commercial).

The personal care home will be operated by Higher Heights Home Care. Applicant Etonya Lucas said the 2,700-square-foot building can house 12 residents, but the plan is to expand the building so it can accommodate 18.

The facility will provide 24-hour care for senior citizens, including meals, recreation activities and transportation to community events.

"Our goal is that the residents don't feel like residents at all but like extended family," Lucas said.

The facility will maintain two vans to transport residents, which will be parked in the driveway of the home. Lucas said traffic should not be heavily impacted by the new business.

Two staff members will be on site at all times, she said.

Planning and Development Director Marian Eisenberg said Higher Heights must present a license from the state before the county will issue a business license.

There was no opposition to the proposal, which was unanimously approved by the board.

In other news, commissioners granted a conditional use permit for a kennel to Sandra Guiney Smith of D&S Critter Farm, located at 615 County Line Road.

Guiney had been breeding dogs on the property without the required permit from the county, but in a letter of intent submitted with her application, she said she had been licensed through the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

Smith said she has always kept a variety of animals on her 15-acre farm, including cows, goats, sheep, geese, ducks, dogs, cats and rabbits.

She said she only recently became aware that she could have only three dogs or cats as pets without being required to get a kennel permit.

"I am asking now to be able to keep my pets. All my dogs have names and are my children. I have raised most of them from birth. They are a very important part of my life," her letter says.

Smith attached a copy of her kennel license and pet dealer license from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, as well as recent inspections of her property, which showed no violations. An inspection dated Sept. 11, 2008, indicated she had 37 adult dogs on the property at that time.

There was no public opposition and the board unanimously approved the permit.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.