By Leila Dycus, Intern

The Planning Commission met last week to explore, among other items, a proposed text amendment for Agricultural Residential (AR) zoning and a conditional use permit at Rutledge’s Camp Twin Lakes, in order to build a group home at their property at 1391 Keencheefoonee Road.

“The object is to build a group home for adults with developmental disabilities,” said Charles Baldwin, a Camp Twin Lakes board member who presented the request to the planning commissioners, along with representatives from Jewish Family and Career Services and Hand in Hand Ministries.

Plans for the home have been in progress for more than a year, and there are no other facilities like it in the county.

The home would house four developmentally disabled people, who would also be employed by Camp Twin Lakes. The house would also have a space for a live-in caretaker for the employees.

Commissioners questioned the difference between a group home and a duplex, and how to differentiate between a group home and nursing home; and the security and safety of the location of the home, to be located at the camp off of Centennial Road.

According to those representing Camp Twin Lakes, the location of the home would be off of the road, but still visible from the road, and the driveway would be accessible for an emergency vehicle.

The visual goal for the home is to “make it blend into a residential neighborhood,” Baldwin said.

Further, as far as water, the home is slated to be on a well and septic system.

As far as a kitchen in the home, Eve Bogan, a Jewish Family and Career Services representative, addressed commissioners, reminding them that the disabled employees would be supported by a live-in staff member and access to a kitchen would allow the employees to be as independent as possible.

Further, Camp Twin Lakes wants the employees to be locals. Their goal is to hire employees from the Morgan County area in order to serve the community.

Morgan County resident Bonnie Mason shared the story of her deceased son, Scott Mason, who always dreamed of being an employee and living at Camp Twin Lakes.

She was brought to tears as she told of how approving the group home would allow people with disabilities like her son to fulfill their dream of independence.

The commission approved recommendations for both the change to AR zoning and the conditional use permit, which will go on to be considered by the county commission.

Proposals from Bradley Welding Service to rezone a portion of their land from AR to General Commercial (C2) and a text amendment dealing with additions or modifications to existing churches were also recommended for approval to the county commission.

Recommended All of these will go to the county commission for final approval: Text amendment to AR zoning for Camp Twin Lakes group home; Conditional Use for Camp Twin Lakes group home; Rezoning of land from AR to General Commercial, a request from Bradley Welding Service; Text amendment dealing with additions or modifications to existing churches