By Bob Uphues
The Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a special use permit for a daycare business at 9109 Ogden Ave., a brick one-story building that most recently housed Carquest Auto Parts.
Commissioners voted 5-0 (commissioners Patrick Benjamin and Todd Svoboda were absent from the public hearing) to recommend approval of Let's Play Child Development center, and also voted to override a condition suggested by the village's planning staff to prohibit child pickup and drop-off in a 25-foot-wide drive aisle that sits immediately west of the building.
Cicero-based Let's Play Child Development plans to completely renovate the interior of the 6,100-square-foot building to accommodate the new use. The business would serve children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. The building's capacity would allow for up to 78 children to be present at any one time.
It would operate Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with parents dropping off and picking up children at different times during the drop-off (6-9:30) and pickup (3-6) windows at the beginning and end of the day.
The commission recommended allowing parents to use that north-south driveway between the proposed daycare and Merrick Animal Hospital to the west for pickup and drop-off. Striping for four parallel parking spaces would be required along the edge drive aisle, which connects Ogden Avenue and the paved alley to the south.
In addition, the commission suggested requiring the daycare center to post signage, directing cars to turn south into the drive aisle/parking area to avoid traffic backing up onto Ogden Avenue.
The recommendation went against staff's view, which would have prohibited pickup and drop-off in the area west of the building, allowing just employee parking instead.
With Ogden Avenue a busy state highway and the location lacking any safe pickup/drop-off area in front, staff had recommended requiring parents to park their cars either on Park or Elm Avenue and walk to the building.
"That just seemed safer than creating congestion in the [drive aisle], especially when the parents are going to be walking their children and there's cars that are going to be pulling in there," Village Planner Elyse Vukelich told planning and zoning commissioners at the Jan. 23 hearing.
But, commissioners said parents would likely use the drive aisle as a drop-off/pickup, because it would be more convenient, especially in poor weather, than parking either on Park or Elm avenues and walking to the building.
"I think in the mornings, time is of the essence and parents might tend to look for a shortcut to save time," said Commissioner Karen Miller.
Employee parking will be accommodated by Let's Play Child Development renting parking spots in an off-street lot at 4111 Park Ave.
The Ogden Avenue has no onsite outdoor play area, but the owner of Let's Play Child Development has told village officials that the state has indicated it will allow the daycare center to use Ehlert Park, located about two blocks directly south, for outdoor recreation.
The Brookfield Village Board, which will vote to accept, deny or modify the Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation, will take a first look at the special use application at its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.
A final vote on the application could come as early as Feb. 24.