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Eagle Ranch clears hurdle in expanding with counseling, retreat center
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Eagle Ranch is seeking a rezoning on 9.7 acres off Union Church Road for The James W. Webb Wings Center, which will provide community counseling services and a space for marriage and ministry retreats.

Jan. 21 update: The Hall County Planning Commission voted Tuesday, Jan. 21, to approve the rezoning application for Eagle Ranch, a Christian-based organization working toward building a counseling and retreat center. 

Eagle Ranch executive director and founder Eddie Staub said they would like to begin construction in early summer and finish next year.

The planning commission’s recommendation will now go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for final action at a 6 p.m. hearing Wednesday, Feb. 12 at the Hall County Government Center.

Previous story: A Christian-based organization that helps children overcome personal struggles has a hurdle of its own.

Hoping to build a center providing community counseling services and space for marriage and ministry retreats, Eagle Ranch is set to go before the Hall County Planning Commission on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

The organization, which is based at 5500 Union Church Road in South Hall, is seeking to rezone 9.7 acres off Union Church near Oliver Road from agricultural-residential to planned residential development for the 12,000-square-foot James W. Webb Wings Center.

“I think we’re going to be able to help thousands of families through this,” said Eddie Staub, founder and executive director of Eagle Ranch, in an interview with The Times in October 2019.

He said he believes it’s best to think of the new facility as a sort of “outpatient complement to Eagle Ranch.”

The center is named after Eagle Ranch’s longest-serving board member of 30-plus years, Jim Webb, who died last year. Webb’s daughter recently told Staub that Webb always said he hoped they’d be able to do “more and more and more at Eagle Ranch.” 

The plan at Wings Center is to have a team of therapists to lead community counseling efforts for children and families who don’t currently need Eagle Ranch’s residential services.

The counseling at the Wings Center will be more family-focused when compared to what is offered at Eagle Ranch. It will also serve as a place for children who have returned to their families to receive more counseling as they ease back into life at home.

The Wings Center will also have rooms dedicated as a family retreat area to support parents, marriages and ministry leaders. It will be modeled after a retreat center run by the WinShape Foundation, a charity of the Chick-fil-A founding Cathy family, but on a much smaller scale.

Families would be able to stay for the weekend, going through counseling services and activities with other families staying at the center.

The planning board’s recommendation would go to the Hall County Board of Commissioners for a public hearing and final action on Feb. 12.

Government approval “will allow us to build the center when we are ready,” Eagle Ranch spokeswoman Stefanie Long said in an email. “We anticipate that to be early summer this year.”

Hall County Planning Commission

What: Proposed rezoning for counseling offices and retreat space at Eagle Ranch, 5500 Union Church Road

When: 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21

Where: Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

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