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Chesterfield Planning Commission denies special permit for in-home daycare

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – The Chesterfield Planning Commission voted 3-2 to deny a request from Joni Roberts for a special permit to operate her in-home daycare.

Roberts has operated her state-licensed daycare inside her home for 18 years.  A change in state law required her to get a special use permit to stay in business.

The Brandermill Community Association said her business violates a 40-year-old neighborhood covenant designed to limit in-home businesses with the potential to create traffic problems.

Planning Commissioner, Russell Gulley said it will now go to the Board of Supervisors for a final vote.

Gulley said if denied by the board, Roberts will have to move her business elsewhere.

However, despite Thursday night’s vote, she said she is still staying positive.

“I’m still feeling optimistic. I really am. I mean how could you not feel that way when you sit there and you hear so many compliments,” said Roberts.

Roberts said the B.C.A. has positioned against her efforts to get the special use permit.

“We’ve done nothing but give advantageous opportunities for families here,” Roberts said. “To take the freedom and liberty away from residents here is not correct.”

From January 28 to February 14, Brandermill surveyed residents about in-home businesses in the community.

The survey found the majority of respondents support in-home businesses if traffic considerations are established, but also found 59 percent would not support an in-home daycare where up to 12 children are present at any one time.

The BCA said they will meet with the board of directors on March 3 to discuss the survey’s findings.

“That’s a question you would see on a petition, yea or nea,” said Roberts about the five question survey. Roberts said she is skeptical about how the survey was conducted and feels questions were targeted against her business.

“I can’t begin to formulate an answer to the question without knowing the specific reasons why Mrs. Robert’s makes that claim,” Brandermill Community Association Community Manager John Bailey said via email when asked to respond. “The survey was sent to every owner of Brandermill property. The return number of 1,254 surveys (a 32 percent return rate) provides a 99 percent confidence level in the results being within a 3 percent margin.”

Bailey was at Thursday night’s vote but declined to speak on camera. He said the BCA will be meeting March 3 to discuss the survey results as well as what to do with in-home businesses in general in the Brandermill neighborhood.

The main case worker for the Chesterfield Planning Commission handling Robert’s case is expected to recommend approval of the special use permit, according to a case document given to Roberts.

Still, Roberts said she is not holding out hope because of the influence homeowner’s associations can have at the local level.

“There are some good people out there who really believe in what we do,” Roberts said.

The Chesterfield Planning Commission will take up Robert’s special use permit at a meeting Thursday.

12 comments

  • Scott

    Doesn’t the BCA realize there are loads of licensed caregivers operating in Brandermill right now? Check the state Dept SS for licensed operators. If BCA is going to protest one, then protest all. You’ll be impacting a lot of families.

  • Carrie F.

    She’s been a state licensed in home daycare for 18 YEARS… why is it now a problem. This is not something new she is doing, so I’m trying to see why BCA picks now to make this an issue. It appears she has grounds to obtain her special license on the state level…the “40 yr old covenant” didn’t seem to be an issue for the last 18 yrs until now

    • Sallie Maie

      BCA Board denied her initial request in 2003; she just continued operating. Now DSS rules have changed and now that she needs the special use permit, she’s gone back before the current BCA Board. Wonder why she didn’t try to change the covenants since her 2003 denial?

  • mike

    but they let group homes operate wherever they want,coming and going 24/7.these things are everywhere now and just last week,yea the kid who rammed the troopers?from a group home,these things destroy neighborhoods yet the county is worried about a daycare.

  • John

    12 kids equals about the same amount of cars pulling into her driveway. I wouldn’t want to live next door to that. Noise pollution. Hoot hoot

  • John

    If this is a new law, look and see who May have lobbied for this. You might find someone on the Brandermill board that lobbied for it. Seems the law works for them, any lobbyists on the board? How about it BCA. Hoot hoot.

  • R.C

    Sorta on the fence with this one. Have to admit 12+ children seems a little excessive for a home daycare. However, I seriously doubt all 12 families converge for pick up at the same time. Not to mention it doesn’t appear as though this house is on a cul-de-sac; thusly impeding the flow of traffic. I guess my question is, of those that responded on the survey, were any of them neighbors? I think one of the things here is that someone wants to throw around weight, as I don’t see how a home daycare brings down property values; supposed reason for Community Associations.

  • Jenny

    There are several problems with this story: how many kids does she actually keep? what exactly changed in the law to make problems for her? how come her business can’t be grandfathered since she’s been in operation for almost 20 years? why are 1254 surveys (only a third of the ones sent out) being considered? more than a thousand people can’t be this woman’s neighbors, it’s impossible. who has it in for her that this even came up? it sounds like someone is bored with their lives and felt the need to stir the pot to get some excitement going. Does she have a disgruntled neighbor, and if so, how long has the neighbor been there? If they’ve just moved in, they should have investigated the neighhborhood beforehand, and if they’ve been there a while, why is her daycare NOW a problem? This whole thing smacks of someone being whiny about “propriety” or something equally stupid.

  • John

    Hey Ms Roberts, dr Katherine Bettin runs her business out of her house and I know that because I’ve been there for sessions. Also her husband is a BCA board member, Jack Bettin. I ask is that fair? should he even voted since he may be in violation himself. Just search Dr Bettin 23112. I was traffic to my sessions, and I’m not the kind some would want in there I’m sure. Hope I was of some help. John

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