Parent’s options may dwindle as new laws could lead to fewer Virginia daycare centers

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Joni Roberts has run a 24-hour daycare service in her Chesterfield home for 17 years. That service however could soon end thanks to a change in Virginia law.

Roberts currently serves on average 12 children, many of whom are sons and daughters of area first responders.

Virginia law now requires in-home daycare centers to not only get approval from the state, but also from the county if they want certification.

That is where Roberts is encountering issues.

According to Roberts, the Chesterfield County Planning Department wants the opinion of the Brandermill Community Association before giving Roberts her permit. The association will vote on Monday, January 6.

"I wish this hadn't come to this," Roberts said.

Roberts said most indicators point in the direction of the Brandermill Board of Directors denying her request.

She said it's because of rules established in the Brandermill covenants - that state in-home businesses cannot be established if they create traffic congestion.

While the Chesterfield Planning Department and Board of Supervisors could still grant Roberts request if Brandermill denies it, Roberts said that is unlikely.

A statement issued by John S. Bailey, the Brandermill Community Manager, reads:

"The BCA Board of Directors will be voting on Mrs. Roberts request for support of her zoning permit application at its January 6th meeting.

The Board has been doing their due diligence with regard to this issue, and it should be noted that this same request was previously reviewed by the BCA Board of Directors in 2003.  At that time, the Board voted 6-0-1 to deny Mrs. Roberts request.  The basis for that decision was that such business activity was in violation of the Restrictive Covenants, Section 2(a).  It reads:  'All lots in said Residential Areas shall be used for residential purposes exclusively.  The use of a portion of a dwelling on a lot as an office by the owner or tenant thereof shall be considered a residential use if such use does not create customer or client traffic to and from the lot.'

The current Board heard directly from Mrs. Roberts at their December 2nd meeting – receiving a presentation by Mrs. Roberts and hearing testimony from some of her neighbors as well as clients.

The Board has asked that legal counsel provide them with an opinion on the subject and the Board is waiting for that guidance before they finalize their views on the matter.

The BCA expects to receive that opinion in the next couple of days and then the Board should be ready to make a decision on Monday."

If denied her request, Roberts could still operate her facility and face fines or she could reduce the number of children she cares for to five - a limit in which  permits are not needed.


  • Raftgeek

    Mrs. Jonie needs help. She has been running this business for 17 years without a problem. There are 4 cars that come to this house over the course of the day. I’m not sure why brandermill has chosen to single her out. I think it’s a good question to ask? The board appeared ready to approve her last month but it seems one member with possible dubious intent has poisoned the rest of the board against her . I personally wonder if Mrs. Jonie were white, if she lived in a new section of brandermill would this still be an issue? Does the board really want to send a message that ALL are not welcome in our neighborhood? I hope not please help us call 804-744-1035 let them know keep our children safe we don’t want unregulated and unlicensed daycare in our neighborhood. We want great people like Mrs. Jonie caring for our kids.

    • Daryle Panek

      1. Brandermill did not single her out, if any of you had bothered to read the article “the Chesterfield County Planning Department” wanted the BCA Opinion and they were following a state law.

      And to Raftgeek you for one should learn to read, you are making this because of race which it isn’t shows that some people should not make comment for it just shows their own ignorance.I am not surprised if you did not get on the phone this morning and try to AL and Jesse to blow this out of proportion.

      • athynz

        A bit of an overreaction don’t you think? Personally this is why I would never live in a place with a HOA – I live under enough rules from the local, state, and federal governments why would I want to deal with MORE red tape?

        If this has been going on for 17 years now without a hitch then why would the HOA vote against her now? Perhaps it’s because of her skin color, perhaps it’s because of a rival on the HOA who wants to set up her own daycare, perhaps it’s because they can?

  • Deevamom

    I agree I think this is only coming out because she is black. The article indicates a lot of her children are children of Police and Fire. Is that the way a community treats those who are hired to serve them. Shame on them. Good publicity for Brandermill if you have children don’t move here.. This community discriminates against children and their care.

  • M.L. Adams

    The world truly has gone mad when a county planning department looks to a private owners’ association in order to decide what they should do about a public matter! The county’s only concern, here, should be the safety of the children, and after 17 years, without a problem, that should be a no-brainer!

  • PCGov

    Not to worry. Nanny Government will establish and fund from cradle, younger and younger starts, after school and summer baby siting services, with food, under FREE schools. “It’s for the Kids”.

  • Kristen Dively Keatley

    There have been several home daycares that have come under fire lately. Creekwood HOA has been in the news this last year with the same issue. If the county approves her request she will still be in violation of the Brandermill restrictions as her “business” does generate traffic to and from the residence. Now that is if the press quoted the restrictions correctly. It will them be Brandermills legal option to proceed with legal action against the Homeowner for her to stop running the business.

    It’s actually a very legal issue as the State Dept of Social Services changed licensing requirements last year by which the applicants need to provide on their application to run a daycare (or renewal of existing) all local permits and licensing prior to DSS approving state licenses.

  • ACR

    Chesterfield County planning dept has required this licensing process for 10 years plus. If you are going to run a business out of your home, you should be following the policies and procedures set up by the county and state you live in. (and the HOA) Part of the county process is obtaining the opinion of the neighborhood you live in. This is not discriminatory – this is the county doing their job. I think it’s great that the State is now matching their records up to the County.

    I applied for a license in 2002 and was denied because an adjacent neighborhood did not support my request. Because we had streets that overlapped communities – they were allowed input.

  • Kendall Short

    What do we do about people who do not work regular day care hours? Most, if not all child care centers are open from 6 to 6.

  • Kendall Short

    ’All lots in said Residential Areas shall be used for residential purposes exclusively. The use of a portion of a dwelling on a lot as an office by the owner or tenant thereof shall be considered a residential use if such use does not create customer or client traffic to and from the lot.’

    Based on that section on the of the HOA, you can run a tax business out of your house and no one would care. Either you can have a business or you can’t. Seems to me they are making distinctions about what business are allowed and which ones are not. Does that really sound fair? White Collar business, okay. Blue Collar, not okay. The Struggle is Real.

    Side note: If she transports the children to and from their homes she would be in compliance with the “no customer traffic to and from the lot”

  • Rochelle


    Are all of the children receiving services being dropped off and picked up at the same time?

    If services have been provided for 17 years without interruption or disturbance then she should be grandfathered in.

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