Loudoun County held a public briefing and input meeting May 7 to discuss potential changes to zoning regulations for home day care providers.
Since a July 1, 2012 ruling from the Virginia Department of Social Services, Loudoun County and statewide home day care providers have been in a state of limbo as to what's next for their child care businesses.
The VDSS ruling states that providers seeking new licenses are now required to have their local zoning administrators sign off on a form saying they have been informed of the provider’s plan to seek a child care license.
Since the ruling was passed, Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors worked out an agreement with the Virginia Department of Social Services in September to not enforce the ruling until they can have their zoning administrators and planning commission further look at the issue.
While the state sanctions 12 children as the maximum number of children in a home, Loudoun County only allows nine per home. That law includes the provider’s children as well.
Approximately 10 speakers expressed their opinions on the proposed changes to the zoning code.
The public briefing outlined the proposed changes to Loudoun County's Zoning Ordinance on home-based care.
The proposed changes outlined include revisions to §5-609, which covers traffic in and out of the residence, neighborhood noise and child care assistants and much more.
Several of the assembled day care providers expressed it may be difficult to gain approval from their neighbors, which is a proposed change in zoning regulations in order for providers to receive their permit.
Also covered in the proposed changes are the difference between child care centers and child care homes.
Revisions are also scheduled to be made to §3-700, which covers multi-family residential areas.
“Everybody in this room does this because we care,” Lovettsville resident and care provider Kathy Franco said during the question and answer session. “If we have to start cutting kids we are not only going to be affected financially, but emotionally, because we are like a family.”
Kammi Sharpe, a home child care provider in Sterling noted the changes not only will affect the home care providers, but also the families who send their kids to them.
“This would be a major hardship for a lot of my families as well as my own. A lot of them are high-risk or need special medical care. The parents may have to quit working because they can't put their kids in another day care because other care providers may not have the medical training,” Sharpe said. “I may have a problem with getting approvals from my neighbors because they are older and retired and have been in the community for a long time. That could pose a problem for me because I have already had the police called on me because of the outdoor noise level of the kids playing.”
The tentative schedule for the planning commission to look at the issue will be July 16. A public input session will also be conducted at that time. Once the public hearing will happen, the Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. A final decision should occur in late this year.
The delay in enforcing the new regulations was originally covered in this Nov. 15, 2012 article.