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Child care provider approved, with doubts

SoVaNow.com / August 14, 2013
South Hill Town Council met on Monday night and held four public hearings regarding new businesses, manufactured home sales and a mixed-use building.

Council also heard news and updates on possible grant funds to improve downtown.

In the public hearings, Brothers Keeper, Inc., and Impact Church of God were granted permission to operate childcare programs at 821 West Danville Street and 205 West Danville Street, respectively.

David Banks of Brothers Keeper, along with Diane Layne and other support personnel, had approached Council previously about having an after school and during school hours support program. The program is intended to support local students who are having behavioral issues as well as those needing extra educational help outside the normal school setting.

At that time, Council members had questions about the organization that needed to be addressed and they invited the organization to come back once those questions were satisfactorily answered.

Brothers Keeper, Inc., is qualified as a provider of mental health services. The company offers counseling services and has worked in conjunction with the local school system for more than a year.

The business currently provides services to 83 clients in Mecklenburg who suffer from ADHD and language disorders, or are in need of counseling and other areas related to mental health services.

Banks and members of his staff approached Council on Monday to request operating under the Town’s daycare zoning ordinance. Previously, the business had requested to be zoned as a private school. This new request, however, set in motion questions and some confusion as to what the organization aims to do.

Banks conceded there has been confusion on Brothers Keeper’s part about what category of zoning should have been requested at the first meeting.

Banks explained there had been many questions about the organization operating as a private school. He said he had been contacted by the Virginia Department of Education with questions regarding the request.

When Banks first met with Council, Councilman Ben Taylor, in particular had several questions about exactly what services the organization wanted to offer. And as Banks made his presentation on Monday, Taylor stated he still didn’t have a clear picture.

“After tonight, I’m still confused,” said Taylor.

Council members Millie Bracey and Woodrow Kidd also voiced their concerns.

Taylor explained that several people have been approaching Council recently about providing services to kids in Mecklenburg. Basically, Taylor said he wanted to make sure that this was about the kids and not about making money off of what Taylor called “our most vulnerable” children and families

Banks explained they were only requesting what they had sought at the previous meeting — then cited the issue involved, exactly how the business should be zoned.

“We are not licensed to operate as a school and don’t want to,” Banks said.

After much discussion, Council determined the business was legitimate but needs to be zoned as daycare operation to operate within its licensing. Brothers Keeper received a favorable vote with Taylor and Bracey voting against the request.

The other daycare request — from Impact Church of God — met with less resistance. Several people spoke in favor of the program, which had been in service for over five years at the Church of God, at 128 E. Ferrell Street.

The issue resolved around Impact Church of God being a new church and being at a new location. The daycare facility was approved, with Bracey voting, no.

In another hearing, R.T. “Tommy” Arnold requested that he be able to display two manufactured homes at the northwestern corner of Arnold Drive and the intersection of Cycle Lane.

Arnold told Council the location was a prime site and stated one home would be used for an office and the other a true display home. He stated the buildings would not be rotating.

“The housing market is improving.” Arnold said.

Council unanimously agreed to the proposal.

A request, from Elizabeth Dane to utilize 408 E. Atlantic as a dwelling in an existing business also passed unanimously.

Meeting Schedules, Grant Funds and Town Improvements

Town Manager Kim Callis asked that Council’s October meeting take place on Wednesday the 26th at 7 p.m. due to a Virginia Municipal League Conference. The recommended motion was approved.

He noted the town staff was working on several grant initiatives with the Southside Planning District.

The first grant discussed related to a study of downtown businesses and building inventory located downtown. Area covered would be from the Mecklenburg Avenue/Franklin Street intersection to the West Danville Street Goodes Ferry Road intersection.

The area on the north side of Franklin Street from Mecklenburg Avenue to the former South Hill Elementary School would also be included.

At the satisfactory conclusion of the inventory, a $3,000 DHCD grant would be available to cover related expenses with the possibly of more funding coming available.

A motion was also made and approved for Council to adopt a resolution supporting the Town of South Hill’s application to the 2014 Industrial Revitalization Fund.

The monies, if granted, would be used for the Colonial Center Square Redevelopment Project.

Callis also spoke about signage to be erected at Whittle’s Mill through Upper Reach. The organization has obtained funding to place informational signs at a number of canoe/kayak launch locations along the Roanoke and Meherrin and other rivers.

Executive Session

After an executive session meeting, Council voted to add another position to the town’s maintenance department.









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