COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - A full house packed the Columbia County Annex Tuesday night. Dozens of concerned citizens united in their fight to shut down an unwanted neighbor - a personal care home– for good.
"We want to maintain the cohesiveness and family friendly environment that we have created as a community, where our children are free to play without fear of being confronted or being told to stay away from a certain home," said a neighborhood spokesperson.
Anneswood Road residents stood together - hoping Columbia County commissioners would deny a personal care home its request to rezone in order for it to continue to function as a business. Residents say things have changed since it opened a year ago .
"The gentleman's kids were playing in his lawn when one of the patients walked up and commented, very creepily, on how the child looked based on appearance. And when the father saw this, he's like 'hey, get away from my child' and the guy immediately ran away and went into the home," the neighborhood spokesperson said.
US Attorney Ed Tarver - representing the business owner of Peace of Mind Personal Care Home - said Columbia County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) reports find there's no risk of harm or danger stemming from the home.
"There have not been any confrontation phone calls, there have not been any calls that resulted in anybody being hurt, there have not been any calls for fighting, certainly have not been any calls for crime," Tarver said.
Attorney Ed Tarver shared legal concerns, saying there are federal legal consequences of the council denying the petition. He said five elderly people, all with some form of disability, live in the home.
The commission decided to back the bulk of the constituents and deny the request, saying the owner must live at the home-based business. All commissioners voted in favor of the motion to disapprove the request to rezone the Personal Care Home from R-1 to Special.
Now, The next step is in the hands of the business - and they're considering legal action.