Numerous neighbors turned out to voice opposition to an in-home day-care moving in to their neighborhood during a public hearing before the Jackson Mayor and Board of Aldermen Oct. 18.
Brian and Angela Powell have requesed for a special use permit to operate a daycare as a home occupation in an R-1 (single-family residential) district at 596 Canyon Trail, a home they are purchasing.
Angela operates a daycare at her current home, 409 N. Shawnee, where she cares for up to 10 children from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. She received a special use permit four years ago to operate her daycare in that location.
“I have lived in three subdivisions over the years. We have always been welcomed,” she said. “I have never had any complaints from any of my neighbors.”
Powell said the home on Canyon Trail would not look different from other homes in the neighborhood. She would not have any signs installed, although she does plan on installing a privacy fence.
“I really do love what I do,” Powell said. “I provide trustworthy, safe care in my family home. If I can’t continue to care for their children, I know how difficult it would be finding available care.”
Powell said she can watch children in her home as an unlicensed daycare without the special use permit. However, she would be limited to six children under state law, and the City of Jackson further limits her to four. She currently cares for 10 children from nine families. She has no plans to care for more than 10 — that is the maximum allowed by the state. She would like to keep caring for the ones she currently has. “They need me and I need them,” she said.
She was asked by Alderman Larry Cunningham if she considered moving her business to a commercial building. Powell said that “gets tricky.” There is increased overhead, and she would have to get out in bad weather. Also, by operating out of her home, if her children get sick, she can stay home with them and still operate her daycare.
Kelly Cook spoke in favor of granting the permit. She said it’s hard to get into a daycare; some have waiting lists of six months to a year. Her daughter loves going to Angela’s daycare. “She cares so much about the kids,” Cook said. “Angela provides a safe, caring and fun environment for the kiddos to learn in.”
Caitlin Brown also spoke in favor. “Not giving her this permit to keep her daycare open would be such a disservice, to not only us, the parents — the working people of your community — but to the children she cares for. I can speak for my son and he would be completely heartbroken if I have to tell him he can no longer see ‘GiGi’ anymore.”
Natalie Burton submitted a letter of support. “I don’t undertsand the opposition,” she said. She said there have not been problems with traffic jams or other issues at Powell’s current location.
Lacy Giudicy said she lives across the street from 596 Canyon Trail. As a former teacher and former daycare employee, she agrees with Powell as to the value and necessity of daycares. She, however, objects to the location, and thinks Powell should look elsewhere. Giudicy is concerned about the possible negative impact a daycare would have on her family and on other families in the neighborhood. She claimed property values could decrease by more than 30 percent and increased traffic would add to traffic congestion in the neighborhood. Nine families currently live on her street, and by adding nine families using the daycare, traffic on the street would be doubled.
Adam Burger, property manager for the subdivision, said developers have reached out to him and expressed concern that while property values may not go down, the marketability of properties could be hurt. Buyers of two nearby property have threatened to cancel their contracts because of the daycare.
Amelia Mansfield said she is a real estate agent who lives at the highest point in the subdivision, and a privacy fence would not keep the daycare from her view. Five other residents spoke in opposition, expressing similar views, while one more customer showed support.
A petition was presented to the aldermen, signed by people in opposition.
Because there was opposition during the public hearing, the aldermen tabled the action item and discussed the matter further in study session.
The aldermen were informed that Janet Sanders, manager of the Building and Planning Department, would have to go through the signatures on the petition, find out which are within 185 feet of 596 Canyon Trail, add up the square footage and divide by the number of signatures. If more than 30 percent opposes the special use permit, it would require a super-majority vote to approve the special use permit (6-2 vote) instead of a simple majority (5-3).
The signed opposition came to 41.4 percent. The aldermen unanimously voted down the request this past Monday.
In other action
• Redistricting: The Board of Aldermen was informed by Jeremy Tanz and Drew Christian of the SEMO Regional Planning Commission of preliminary redistricting plans following the 2020 Census and how they would affect ward boundaries within the City of Jackson.
About 260 residents were added to Ward 1. They were moved there from the other wards. Ward 2 lost 50, Ward 3 lost 111 and Ward 4 lost 99.
Boundaries are moved when the population of certain wards grows out of balance compared to the other wards.
• Outreach Board: The Board of Aldermen approved the appointment of Angelia Thomas to the Community Outreach Board filling an unexpired term ending in 2024.
• Pickleball courts: The Board approved naming the new pickleball court in Litz Park “The Curtis L. Brown Pickleball Complex” as requested by Southeastern Missouri Pickleball, LLC.
Brown was an avid supporter of the sport before his untimely death. Members of his family were in the audience as the aldermen approved the name.
• Depository: The Board authorized the mayor to sign a depository agreement with The Bank of Missouri.
• Sewer: The Board approved a $23,310 task order to Koehler Engineering & Land Surveying, Inc., of Cape Girardeau, for engineering work on the South Old Orchard Road Lateral Sewer Project.
This sewer extension would cross Williams Creek just south of the Old Orchard Road bridge and extend to South Old Orchard Road near the intersection with Slate Lane. This will serve an area in the city and county where there is development currently under way and more is planned. The design work will be financed through the I-55 Corridor Special Allocation Tax Increment Financing Fund.
• JIDC: The Board approved a minor plat of the Jackson Industrial Development Company Subdivision as submitted by the City of Jackson and JIDC.
The Board also approved the sale of a four-acre tract of land known as Lot 2 of Jackson Industrial Development Company Subdivision from the City to the JIDC.
• Wreaths Across America: During study session, Pamela Johnson of the John Guild Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution informed the aldermen of a request her chapter is making to block Missouri Street at the entrance to City Cemetery from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 18, for a Wreaths Across America ceremony.
The chapter will place wreaths at the tombstones of approximately 1,200 veterans buried in City Cemetery and Russell Heights Cemetery.
The kick-off to the ceremony will be at 11 a.m., the exact same time the Wreaths Across America ceremony kicks off in Arlington National Cemetery (noon EST).
City Administrator Jim Roach said the City would process the application for the special use permit.
• Employee insurance: Todd Obergoenner from Swinford & Associates updated the aldermen on the employee medical insurance proposal for 2022.
The City moved from a United Healthcare plan to a SoutheastHEALTH narrow option plan last year to curb cost increases.
“We are at the start of a three-year contract,” he said. Currently, the City is seeing $200,000 in savings and the plan is 16.4 percent under maximum claim costs, which translates into “serious savings” for the City and its employees. Next year could see a nine percent increase in the maximum cost (compared to the maximum cost for 2021). “This is possible — what could possibly happen — it doesn’t mean we are absolutely going to owe it,” Obergoenner said.
The reason for a possible price increase is because some of this year’s claims have not yet been paid — they will be paid in 2022.
He recommended that the City continue to go forward with the SoutheastHEALTH plan, offering the same plan to employees at the same rate.
Employees seem to have been happy with the plan. “I’ve heard positive feedback from the plan” said Roach.
• Park Board: It was reported by Parks & Recreation Director Shane Anderson that the Park Board approved a pickleball tournament for the first weekend in November (this weekend), and accepted the donation of a white cherry tree in Safety City from the Jackson Noon Optimist Club.
• Pickleball signs: The Board of Aldermen was told about signs being installed at the new pickleball courts. They are paid for by corporate sponsors and have their logos on them. Five have been sold and three were still for sale. The Board of Aldermen was scheduled to consider approval of these signs this past Monday (Nov. 1).
• South High Street ADA ramp: A ramp from the street to the sidewalk is being planned on South High Street. City crews can do the work and it will not affect the number of parking spaces available.
This proposed ramp is in response to the City being notified by Carla Jordan with the History Center that a third person had tripped and fell stepping up from the street to the curb on High Street.
• East Main Street sidewalk: City staff informed the aldermen that a study was done in 2010 on the possibility of adding sidewalks to East Main Street between Bellevue and Shawnee. A very rough estimate is that the project could cost about $400,000 to add a sidewalk to one side of the street. It would likely be built on the north side of the street, because the south side would require more fill and utility relocations.