Ebenezer United Methodist Church plans to expand its hours of operation now that a judge has ruled that it can have a special-use permit.
“We prayed on this and got the ball rolling. Everyone at the church is excited to see that things worked in our favor,” said Paige Roberts, who serves as church administrator.
Rockdale Chief Superior Court Judge David B. Irwin overturned the decision by the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners to deny the church a special-use permit to expand its daycare hours of operation. Irwin ruled on May 15 in the daycare’s favor, paving the way for the church to expand its hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The daycare had been operating from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for nearly three decades at the church’s 2533 Stanton Road, Conyers address.
“The Board of Commissioners made an off-the-wall decision to deny us and their reasoning didn’t make any sense. All we wanted to do was extend the daycare’s hours to simply address the needs of our community and our working parents,” said Roberts. “Nobody understood why parents should have to find a place for their children when we have the space and staff here. We, as a church staff, didn’t understand it either.”
Judge Irwin ordered the county to issue the permit and to pay attorney fees and all filing fees associated with the action.
About a month after the county turned down Ebenezer for a special-use permit, it granted the Conyers Seventh-Day Adventist Church a special-use permit for its daycare. The board’s differing decisions concerning the two churches have come under scrutiny.
“This was an entirely preventable and avoidable expense incurred on Rockdale County taxpayers by the actions of two voting County Commissioners,” said Conyers resident John Bowden. “In my opinion, Commissioners Oden and Nesbitt should personally reimburse the county coffers for their irresponsible, unjustified and unfounded actions.”
County officials said they consider this matter resolved and have no further comment.