Article Comment 

One step closer to the dream


Allen Baswell



Genesis Church will be allowed to have a child day care center at the old Hughes school building but not a homeless shelter, according to a unanimous recommendation made at Monday''s Columbus Planning Commission meeting. 


The Rev. Darren Leach, pastor of Genesis Church now meeting at the former Hughes school at 1820 23rd St. N., appeared before the commission at a previous meeting seeking a request for a permit to have the child day center at the location.  


He also wanted to use the site as a temporary shelter for homeless people. 


Jessie Koonce, who lives on 23rd Street North is opposed to a homeless shelter because of security concerns. 


"I am not opposed to a day care center. But I am opposed to a homeless shelter because of concerns about making sure there is discipline in the shelter," she told the commission. 


Leach said he has addressed security and discipline. 


"We have spoken with Columbus Police Department Chief of Police Joseph St. John, and he assured us that there would be more patrols going on in the area," said Leach. "Also, through the help of the CPD, we would screen potential clients and make sure they would work to find a job and a permanent place." 


Planning Commission Chairman J. Tyson Graham told Leach a day care center could be there, but not a homeless shelter, because it is zoned as an R-1, single family residential district. 


"Homeless shelters are in areas zoned as commercial districts, not in any type of residential district," Graham explained. 


Leach had earlier withdrawn a request for a planned unit development. 


The commission makes recommendations that are passed on to the mayor and City Council for approval. 






The commission also approved a recommendation to a request submitted by Leslie L. Ballard to rezone Beaver Creek subdivision on Bluecutt Road from a single family residential zone, R-1, to a neighborhood commercial-restricted district, C-1 (R). Graham said this would only allow professional office buildings which house doctor''s, lawyer''s, insurance or real estate offices to be placed there. 


Before the motion was made and a vote taken, Bill Threadgill, on behalf of Ballard, spoke in favor of rezoning the subdivision. 


"There has not been a residence built there in 15 years, and it would be a good area for professional offices," he said. 


Billy Cox spoke in opposition to the request to change the zoning because he said there are drainage problems that need to be fixed. 




Other business 


The commission also unanimously approved the preliminary review of a new subdivision plat on Island Road that would be called River Dreams Subdivision. 


The commission also approved allowing an adult day care facility for the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District at 1522 Gardner Blvd. 


GTPDD Director Rudy Johnson said this would be a place for senior citizens to come to enjoy activities. 


The commission also approved a request by Leigh Mall General Manager Gail Culpepper, on behalf of Mississippi Delta Shows LLC, to have a carnival July 28-Aug. 7 at 1404 Old Aberdeen Road, behind the mall.


Allen Baswell is a former staff reporter for The Dispatch



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