By Maggie Kenworthy
WARSAW — During the Kosciusko Area Plan Commission meeting held Wednesday, June 2, much of the discussion revolved around the issue of home childcare facilities that was brought up last month.
According to state regulations, home childcare facilities are able to operate without a resident living in the home. Meaning the residential building can be used solely as a childcare property. These facilities would still need to be approved by the state and subject to state regulations and inspections. But, Kosciusko County ordinances do not allow this to happen.
This month, Area Plan Director Dan Richard brought forth a possible ordinance amendment that would allow home childcare facilities to exist in the county. These facilities would be allowed as a permitted use in a public-use district and an exception use in agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial districts.
The proposed ordinance changes would also require one parking spot for each full-time caregiver and one parking spot for every two children the facility cares for.
The ordinance would define home childcare facilities, clearing up some of the confusion among these facilities, home daycares and commercial childcare centers. Home childcare facilities are defined as an “establishment providing non-overnight care, supervision and protection of children in a private residential structure, not occupied by a permanent residence, in which at least six and no more than 16 children at any time receive child care from a provider.”
Todd Speicher, president of Instrumental Machine & Development, was present at the meeting to support the ordinance changes. His company requested approval for a home childcare facility from the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals earlier this year and was denied.
He explained to the board that he had two employees just today who were unable to come to work due to childcare issues. His wish is to help offset this issue by providing a childcare solution for his employees. This would be an extra expense on the business’ end, but would ideally improve production and employee retention. He stated that neighboring businesses have shared similar issues regarding childcare and their employees.
“All I’m trying to do is add a benefit to my employees,” said Speicher.
The board agreed to have a public hearing on the matter on July 7. If approved by the APC and County Commissioners, future home childcare facility requests would go before the Kosciusko Board of Zoning Appeals for approval. All property owners within 100 feet of any future proposed facilities would be notified of the request and invited to a public hearing for each individual facility.
In other news, the board approved:
- A final plat request for lots 1, 13 and 14 in the Syracuse Tech Park. This replat combines all lots into one and relocates an easement within the park.
- A subdivision request made by Robert and Phyllis Swanson, 6008 W. Old Road 30, Warsaw. This property was recently rezoned to an Ag 2 District to allow for additional sell-offs.
- A preliminary plat request made by Matt Cohagan for 14.41 acres at the south side of CR 200S, west of CR 400W in Warsaw. This would involve a three-lot subdivision.
- A vacation request made by Michael Irving, 544 EMS D15 Lane. This would vacate the end-portion of a culdesac to allow a garage to be built. The request was approved pending agreement from the Kosciusko County Highway Department.