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Newton BOC considers allowing in-home day cares

COVINGTON — Those interested in opening an in-home day care in Newton County may be allowed to do so in the near future.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners asked the county attorney’s office to research the ordinances and standards in surrounding counties for in-home day cares after a citizen asked the board to reconsider the 2008 amendment that no longer allowed the residential businesses.

Attorney Jenny Carter said prior to 2008, the county allowed residents to provide day care services and no regulations were required for those who provided day care services for one or two children. However, those wanting to keep three to six children needed a use permit and had to follow a list of standards; those who kept seven to 12 children needed to apply for a conditional use permit.

“The board at the time decided to amend the ordinance and remove in-home day cares because there were a lot of conditional use permits being issued and people raised concerns about traffic, noise, safety and other problems,” Carter said. “The board then decided to no longer approve day cares in residential areas.”

Carter said she researched Henry and Morgan counties’ standards for operating in-home day cares and found that the services were allowed, but only for a maximum number of six children. Requirements included a use permit, minimum fenced play area, paved driveways and a fire marshal inspection, along with meeting requirements for a state license.

Commissioner Nancy Schulz wanted to make sure the state would require the owner to provide immunization records of the children and enforce the standards. Commissioner Lanier Sims said he asked the board to reconsider allowing in-home day cares about two years ago and is pleased they’re once again discussing the topic.

Commissioner John Douglas asked the changes and standards be reviewed again by the county attorney’s office before being brought back before the board for a vote.