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New rule catches Minot day care providers by surprise

MINOT, N.D. — A zoning rule in Minot that quietly slipped into a city ordinance last year has caught some child care providers by surprise, and they worry about its effects on the availability of day care in the city.

The city changed its zoning ordinance in July 2014 to require home child-care operations with more than 14 children to obtain $250 permits. They also must deposit $1,200 into an escrow account to cover the cost of notifying neighbors and other expenses that might arise in the permitting process, the Minot Daily News reported.

Mary Kasper, who has operated a day care in the city for 32 years, said the industry already is regulated by the state and that she doesn’t think the city should get involved. Carrie Schweitzer, a licensed provider for more than 18 years, said established day cares that have built up clients are being adversely affected.

“Why are we getting penalized — the ones who have been there this long?” she said.

Kasper said the permit requirement could prompt providers to restrict enrollment, making child care even tougher to find.

City planner Donna Bye said noise and traffic associated with larger day cares often lead to complaints.

“We want to make sure a neighborhood is aware” when someone is planning a large day care, she said.

Child care providers plan to ask questions at the Minot Planning Commission meeting Oct. 26 when the commission takes up its first application under the new ordinance.

Ward County Social Services official Amy Jenkins said larger cities commonly require permits for larger day cares in residential areas, but that the agency would support a re-evaluation of Minot’s ordinance to consider public comment.

In related news, Home construction slowing in Minot since post-flood peak.

Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.