By Bob Uphues
Brookfield village trustees last month voted unanimously to approve a special use permit allowing a daycare business to operate at 9109 Ogden Ave., but they rejected an advisory commission's recommendation regarding pickup and drop-off and will require physical barriers in front of the business as a safety precaution.
The unanimous vote by village trustees and the conditions set by the village board reflected the safety concerns they expressed two weeks earlier. Village Planner Elyse Vukelich said it's her understanding that the owners of Let's Play Child Development Center are intending to purchase the property at 9109 Ogden Ave. and are pursuing their state license for the center there.
It's unclear when the business will open. Calls to Jeff Fields, the person listed as the daycare center's point person on its planning application, were not returned. When the center opens, it will be Let's Play Child Development's fourth location in the area. It currently operates two locations in North Riverside and one in Cicero.
The Brookfield location would serve children between the ages of 6 weeks and 12 years old and would be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
One of the challenges of the site was its location on busy Ogden Avenue, a state highway that allows no street parking, but where businesses historically have used front parkways for parking.
Planners and police expressed concerns over pickup and drop-off procedures at the site, and village trustees overturned a Planning and Zoning Commission recommendation that would have allowed parents to use a 25-foot-wide drive aisle immediately west of 9109 Ogden Ave. for that purpose.
Worried that the cars of parents dropping off children could back up on Ogden Avenue, trustees voted to prohibit using the drive aisle for anything other than employee parking. Trustees will require the drive aisle to be striped for four employee parking spaces and will also require signage indicating that drive aisle traffic moves one way, to the south.
As a result, parents will need to park in public spaces on either Park or Elm avenues and walk their children to the front door of the daycare center. The business is also renting 11 spaces in a privately owned off-street parking lot just south of Ogden Avenue on the east side of the 4100 block of Park Avenue, which will also be used for employee parking.
In addition, trustees are requiring Let's Play Child Development to install some sort of safety barrier in front of the business to prevent vehicles from using the paved space in front of the business for parking and as a shield from traffic.
Vehicles leaving Ogden Avenue and striking buildings has happened many times in recent years, some of them causing serious damage. A Feb. 24 memo to trustees from the village's community development department noted that since 2006, vehicles have struck buildings along Ogden Avenue 29 times.
The most recent incident was Feb. 18 in the 8900 block of Ogden Avenue, about three blocks east of the new daycare center.
The exact solution has not been determined and could range from protective bollards to large concrete planters placed along the property frontage. Vukelich said those details would be worked out as part of the local business license process.
Whatever the solution is, said Trustee Edward Cote, it should look nice.
"We're setting a precedent," said Cote. "And if we're going to set that precedent, let's go with an aesthetically acceptable way."