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BOC to vote on day care

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

CONYERS -- The upcoming vote by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to allow TGS Christian Ministries to operate a day care here has drawn attention to the operation that goes beyond simply how it cares for small children.

The BOC is set to have a second reading and final vote at its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Tuesday on the special-use permit request by TGS. Rockdale County Commission Chairman Richard Oden and Commissioner Oz Nesbitt voted for the permit, and Commissioner JaNice Van Ness voted against the permit.

The vote was against recommendations from the Conyers-Rockdale Planning Commission and the county's Planning and Zoning Department based on three violations cited by the state agency Bright from the Start and a fourth citation by county Code Enforcement.

TGS owners Sandra Morton and her daughters, who are black, have used race as part of their argument in countering concerns brought up by the Planning Commission and county staff.

At the May 12 Planning Commission meeting, TGS supporters sang "We Shall Overcome," as they left following the commission's vote to recommend denial of the permit request.

County planners said race had never entered the process and the recommendation comes from TGS's violation of its current special-use permit and state licenses for a school for children 5 years old and up.

Other concerns beyond the violations have been brought up in public hearings and in court documents. They include TGS's recent history with former locations.

TGS, then known as TGS Kidz Academy, was served an eviction notice from the building at 2130 Bridgestone Parkway first in February 2010 due to nonpayment of rent and property taxes as agreed under the lease. TGS countered the building owner's claims and the case continued in local Superior Court for the remainder of the year.

On Jan. 21, Judge Sidney Nation signed an eviction notice to remove TGS for failure to pay rent in December and January. Three days later, Clyde Tant with Laws Med LLC told the Sheriff's Office deputy serving the court order that TGS "had removed items from the property and that a large number of HVAC items had been taken from the property," according to the incident report.

Tant approached the deputy that day to complain about TGS taking items from the property. Tant noted that he had called the Conyers Police Department the day before over landscaping items he said had been removed from the property.

Hubert Morton with TGS told the deputies that the items belonged to the day care and contested Tant's claims.

The deputy noted in his report that he advised both Tant and Morton he could not "cast judgement as to whose property is whose; that could all be handled in court," according to the report.

TGS also faced eviction last year in Henry County. According to news reports, a dispute over rent led to the eviction of TGS Kids Academy at its Ellenwood location on March 18.

Sarah Morton claimed she had an agreement to work out rent with the bank that owned the building. Bank officials, who foreclosed on the property from the original owners, said there was no such agreement and TGS had not paid rent since September 2010.