Anyone operating an in-home daycare in a residential district in Jackson cannot take care of more than four children unless the operators receive a special use permit from the City. This is stipulated by Chapter 65 of the city’s Code of Ordinances.
Before obtaining a special use permit, a public hearing must be held, and neighbors within 185 feet of the property are notified.
If neighbors object to the special use permit, it can be hard to get one. The request will likely be voted down by the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
The Board recently voted down two requests when neighbors objected. On Feb. 7, it turned down a request by Little Buttercups, LLC, to operate a daycare in an R-4 (general residential) district at 804 E. Main St.
Prior to that, on Nov. 1, 2021, the Board denied a special use permit to Brian and Angela Powell to operate a daycare in a home they were purchasing at 596 Canyon Trail, in an R-1 (single-family residential) district.
The Powells had operated a daycare for 10 children in their previous home at 409 N. Shawnee Blvd., and they hoped to continue their daycare in their new home. However, many neighbors at the new location objected to the daycare, and the Board of Aldermen denied their request.
When the Powell’s special use permit was denied, they lost their state licensing and had to reduce the number of children they keep. They are able to have a daycare in their new home, but they now have less than four children, significantly cutting their profits.
They told the Jackson Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 9 that there is a great need for more childcare, and the desperation of parents seeking childcare can be seen on semomoms.com.
Janet Sanders, Building and Planning Dept. manager, explained to the Planning and Zoning Commission that the city ordinance allows no more than four children, which does not include the residents’ own children, step-children or those for whom they have legal guardianship, but it does include other relatives such as grandchildren, nieces, nephews and others who do not live in the home.
In addition to the city ordinance requirements, the city’s building code allows no more than five children before additional building requirements kick in and the building becomes classified as an institutional building.
The Powells are seeking to change the city ordinance to allow six children instead of four before a special use permit is required. State statutes allow up to six children at in-home daycares before they need to be licensed.
The Powells said they would be happy to compromise if the number of children were increased to five to match the building code.
Sanders said it would be nice if these numbers of children all matched, but even if a change in the ordinance is made so two of the three would match, all three would still not match.
A change in the ordinance will affect the entire city, not just the Powell’s property on Canyon Trail. Because it’s a request for a text change in the ordinance and not a request for a special use permit, property owners near in-home daycares throughout the city will not be notified of this request for a change.
The Planning and Zoning Commission set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, in the Board Chamber at Jackson City Hall, 101 Court St. For more information, see the public notice regarding this public hearing on page 4B or go to www.jacksonmo.org.
Following its public hearing, the Planning and Zoning Commission will pass along its recommendation to the Board of Aldermen. The aldermen will schedule a separate public hearing in the future before it votes on whether to make any change in the ordinance.