By Phoebe Muthart
Lack of child care is a big issue in Kosciusko County and one facility in Syracuse hopes to ease some of the burden it faces for working parents.
A Syracuse daycare facility got approval for changes and alterations to its property at the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Thursday, Aug. 19.
Leticia Howell requested a petition for an exception for the purpose of allowing changes and alterations to her property. The property was granted an exception in 2018.
The property is located at 700 S. Syracuse-Webster Road. She started the home-based daycare three years ago.
“I’m trying to find ways to expand,” she told the board.
Howell wants to allow up to 16 children under the approved home occupation business. She currently takes care of 10 children at her business, Wee Warriors Day Care, a licensed child care facility in Syracuse.
She wants to allow the use to be converted to an unoccupied day care facility in the future, as described under section 3.31 of the zoning ordinance, in a residential district.
The parking issue was addressed. Howell said she received a permit to install a new driveway. Six parking spaces will be in front and a four-car driveway will be installed.
Other than the parking issue, the petition was approved with some conditions. A pool in the backyard must be taken down and the playground will need to be moved to accommodate the growth. In addition, she must relocate the carport.
Currently, Howell and her family live at the home but are moving once they find another house.
Her request prompted three letters of support for Howell’s business expansion. Polywood stated in a letter that child care is a major issue in the county, especially in Syracuse. Ryan Zimmerman, director of HR for Polywood, said he appreciates the fact that she is making changes to her home daycare to allow more children.
The Syracuse-Wawasee Chamber of Commerce also chimed in with a letter of support stating in a letter: “It (child care) is a major issue.”
LaunchPad, a child care and early learning coalition, noted in a third letter of support, “We are grateful for the child care facility in Syracuse.”
Howell said she also plans to hire two employees to accommodate the day care’s growth.
Eric Long’s petition for an exception was granted. He wants to allow living quarters to be removed from an existing residence, tear down a part of the structure, and leave a 26-foot-by-47-foot structure to be used as an oversized residential accessory building. Since it is “oversized” it needs an exception, said Matt Sandy, the county’s assistant planner. Long wants to tear down a home next to his that he owns but keep the garage.
The property is located at 1017 N. Huntington St.
Long’s petition for a variance to construct a new wall for a residential accessory building 10 feet from the south property line was also approved.
Legacy Wood’s petition for a variance was approved. The company’s owner, Andrew Miller, told the board he wants to allow employee parking and loading and unloading areas in a front yard, where ordinance requires both of them to be in a rear and side yard.
The property is located on the north side of Innovation Boulevard, just east of Technology Way in the Syracuse Industrial Park.