Hearing to discuss childcare by-law change
Date: 3/19/2012March 19, 2012
By Chris Mazachrism@thereminder.com
EAST LONGMEADOW A proposed by-law change would increase the number of children allowed at a residential childcare facility.
A public hearing will be hosted by the planning board on March 27 at 6 p.m. to discuss a change in the current by-laws which allow a child care center located in a home to supervise no more than six children.
The by-law change is among the articles anticipated to be a part of the warrant for the 2012 Annual Town Meeting. According to state law, a public hearing must precede any vote regarding changes to a by-law.
"Right now the by-law states that these day cares can only have six kids," Planning Director Robyn Macdonald told Reminder Publications
. "It also says the operator of the business can only be the person who lives in the home with no employees."
The by-law change which was petitioned and presented to the Board of Selectmen by Jane Rivera, who runs a childcare center and represents a small group childcare providers in town, would bump the number of children allowed on site from six to 10, which would also force a change in the employment aspects of the by-law.
"The state requires that a large family daycare must have one approved assistant when the total of students exceeds six," Macdonald explained.
The proposal also aims to take away the need for a special permit in order to run a residential childcare business, making it a by-right use of property.
Rivera originally presented the by-law to the Board of Selectmen to be included in the warrant for the Sept. 26, 2011 Special Town Meeting, but the by-law never made its way from the Board of Selectman's office to the Planning Department's office, according to Macdonald, and therefore a public hearing never took place.