Group daycare zoning bill moves out of Committee

A bill introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown clarifying provisions of the new zoning code related to group daycare facilities got a favorable recommendation from City Council’s Committee on Rules Wednesday afternoon. It will get a first reading at Council’s next meeting.

The bill, which the Planning Commission recommended for passage earlier this month, clarifies that daycare facilities are allowed in single- and two-family residential buildings. It allows for family daycare of up to six children by right, and up to 12 with a Special Exception, rather than the variance which is required under the current code. It says that group daycare facilities must be operated by the owner or owner-authorized tenant of the building where the daycare is housed.

Rasheedah Phillips, an attorney who works with Community Legal Services, testified in support of the bill at Wednesday’s Committee hearing.

“This ordinance … recognizes that residential daycare for up to 12 children is an important communal use that provides community residents with access to quality childcare in their own neighborhoods,” Phillips said in a prepared statement. “Zoning codes across the country have long allowed schools and recreation centers in neighborhoods, believing that children should be cared for and educated in community, not commercial, surroundings.”

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