By David Martin

Daycare changes spur discussion in GR


August 12, 2020

The first reading of an ordinance that would allow local daycare operators in R-1 and R-2 zoning areas to increase their child counts from 10 to 15 generated a lot of discussion last week.

The Green River City Council expects more discussion and public participation in the coming weeks. The ordinance was brought forward by Welcome to the Jungle Daycare, but has had stiff opposition from some neighbors. The change would still require a daycare to seek a conditional use permit before being allowed to have up to 15 children at the facility which would mean the Council would have the last say in if a daycare could increase its limit. The zones involved in the ordinance change are associated with single-family, residential neighborhoods.

While the change would allow more children at many area daycares, it could potentially help alleviate an childcare problem in Green River. Stephanie Bohlmann, who operates Welcome to the Jungle Daycare, said the city has few daycare slots available.

Mayor Pete Rust said residential areas have specific uses “by right” and uses outside of those zoned uses require a special use permit or a conditional use permit. Rust said data he was provided indicates the city needs more daycare options, however, thinks other options are available.

“It doesn’t have to fall in residential homes,” he said, saying a limit change or specific placement of daycares in neighborhoods are not the only ways to address the need.

He also said he doesn’t think a limit change for a daycare should be an automatic change.

Councilman Jim Zimmerman said planning and zoning should be considered a living process, saying things done 30-40 years ago don’t always reflect current attitudes or practices.

The Council will discuss the ordinance during its second reading next week. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.


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