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Local daycare granted opportunity to expand

Prince Frederick, MD - A request for a special exception to the Calvert County Zoning Ordinance submitted by a Huntingtown daycare center owner was granted unanimously Thursday, Feb. 1 by the Calvert County Board of Appeals. Jessica and Mark B. Jones, along with Jason Leavitt of R.A. Barrett and Associates, presented the request to increase enrollment at the center to the three-person panel. The Inspired Minds Early Childhood Education Center is located off Route 2/4 in an area that is zoned Rural Commercial District.

Currently, the facility may have as many as 60 children enrolled. With plans to expand the house that serves as a daycare center, the Jones’ were seeking a special exception allowing as many as 120 enrollees. Leavitt explained that the expansion plan involves adding a 1,500-square foot area to the existing structure, making it 3,000 square feet. The building is located on a 2.86-acre lot surrounded by a forested area. The applicants affirm that expanding the facility would help provide a valuable service to the community and allow them to “provide meaningful employment” to any additional staff to be hired. Currently, there are seven employees. Leavitt stated the expansion project is currently in the site plan process and seeking the special exception to increase enrollment is necessary in order to move the process forward. An analysis by the Maryland State Highway Administration has determined the additional enrollment would not create a major problem on Route 2/4. The center does have a drop-off location for children riding a school bus. The center is open from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. As for other infrastructure, Leavitt stated the applicants are working with the local Health Department to expand the daycare center’s septic system. It was noted during the discussion that none of the businesses or residents located near the daycare facility have submitted any negative comments about the proposed expansion.

Jessica Jones told the board that expanding the building would allow for construction of two new classrooms, which would allow the daycare center to serve entire families. 

One woman in the audience offered a statement of support for the daycare. “I am very passionate about this center,” she stated, citing the “convenience of location and quality of care. They do the best with what they have. I believe it would be a valuable thing to let them expand.”

Child daycare centers in Maryland are overseen by the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) Office of Child Care, which licenses and monitors facilities. The office also investigates any complaints against the center and aids childcare programs in meeting the standards of all regulations.

In his monitor to grant the special exception to the Joneses, Board of Appeals Member John Ward noted that daycares “are heavily regulated by the state.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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