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Date of Issue: October 28, 2009

Day-care review lacks applicants

Anna Maria’s planning and zoning board met Oct. 20 in what members believed would be a public hearing for a proposed day-care center at 305 Pine Ave. in which the new owners would live upstairs while the day care would operate at the ground level. The property is located in the city’s retail-office-residential district.

Board members were surprised to learn that the applicants would not attend the hearing. Property owner Ed Rost, who is selling to Becki and Terry Rozhon, attended and apologized for the Rozhons absence.

“They won’t be here until Thursday,” he explained. The couple have another day care in Massachusetts that operates Monday through Thursday, preventing them from attending.

The proposed day care would be an upscale learning center called the Kinderhof, which has day care centers nationwide, according to the application.

While board members were generally pleased about the day-care proposal, member Frank Pytel said he had a number of questions that could only be answered by the applicants.

“Overall, I like what they are doing and I have no serious problem,” Pytel said, but he needs the people running the school to answer some questions.

Board chairman Doug Copeland wanted to know how many students the day care would have, how parking would be arranged on Fridays when all the families attend, if there would be an outdoor activity center and if there would be on-site food preparation.

He also was concerned that the business would have a high fence.

Copeland said it would be difficult for him to cast a vote to approve the plan without answers.

Board member Sandy Mattick, who owns the Pine Avenue Store adjacent to the day care, was concerned about delivery trucks presenting a safety issue for students.

Unfortunately, said Rost, all he knew was that the sale was set to close on Oct. 22 and was dependent upon the board’s approval of the site plan.

City planner Alan Garrett suggested the board grant “preliminary site-plan approval” subject to submission of a final site-plan. Garrett also prepared a number of questions for the applicants to answer at the final site-plan hearing.

Board member Jim Conoly favored the suggestion, noting that the board is not making any decision on the sale of the property, just on the proposed use.

Pine Avenue businessman Mike Coleman said his grandchildren went to a school operated under the Kinderhof program.

The Rozhons would be the owner-operators and live on the property. That’s exactly the type of “mom-and-pop” business the city wants in the ROR, Coleman said.

The board granted preliminary approval, subject to the Rozhons appearing before the board and meeting several stipulations for final site-plan approval.