Commission approves child care options

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Suffolk Planning Commission on Tuesday approved an expansion of a North Suffolk preschool and two in-home daycare facilities.

The Montessori Academy at 5805 Harbour View Blvd. received unanimous approval for a conditional use permit to add a 3,420-square foot building to its existing 9,998-square-foot building. The new building would have three classrooms and a bathroom, with a portion of the existing building to be renovated into an art and music space for students, according to a staff report.

The Montessori Academy currently provides child care and preschool and elementary school instruction to children ranging from infants to children up to the third grade.

Email newsletter signup

“We find that the proposed expansion of the existing Montessori Academy is appropriate given its location on this corridor and its proximity to residential neighborhoods,” said city planner Amy Thurston.

Melissa Venable of Land Planning Solutions, representing Montessori Academy owner Pali Divitotawela of Lanka Educational Corporation, said the Montessori Academy needs to expand due to increased enrollment.

It would need to add six additional parking spaces to the 30 it has now, and it has an arrangement with TowneBank, at 5806 Harbour View Blvd., to use some of its parking, Venable said.  There could be a similar arrangement with the soon-to-be-developed Lakeview Medical Center at Harbour View, she said.

Venable said the school is going to reconfigure its drop-off procedure this summer to have staff greet vehicles as they pull up and escort children inside the school without having the parents get out of the car. She said it should allow for open spaces if parents need to come into the school.

The commission also unanimously approved a request from Bianca Bland to operate a family day care for up to 12 children from ages six weeks to 12 years old on property at 201 Deanes Station Road. It would operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and use 600 of the home’s 2,322 square feet for the day care operation, as well as a fenced-in yard. Bland said she plans to hire one full-time employee.

The property is currently being used for a family day home for up to four children, according to a staff report, and the home has a license through the Virginia Department of Social Services for that. It would have to obtain a separate license to handle additional children, according to the staff report.

Another family day care at 1013 Raven Hill Road, to be operated by Wendy Paulino from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, received the commission’s unanimous approval. Her day care would also have up to 12 children, and would use a converted garage space, as well as its living room and kitchen — about 1,000 of the home’s 3,016 square feet — for the day care, according to a staff report.

Paulino’s home also has a fenced-in backyard for the children to use as an outdoor play area. She would also be caring for children ages six weeks to age 12, according to the staff report, and she plans to hire one full-time and one part-time employee.

All three requests will be taken up by City Council at its June 19 meeting.