SOUTHINGTON — Owners of a proposed 10,000-square-foot daycare center on West Street can proceed with those plans following town approval this week.
While town planners denied the Route 229 daycare in January, developers modified their proposal to take into account safety concerns.
Earlier this year, members of the Planning and Zoning Commission expressed worries about parents turning into the daycare across a lane of West Street traffic. Planners also worried about queuing in the day care’s parking lot during peak times spilling out onto West Street, risking accidents and slowing traffic.
Tim Coon, an engineer with J.R. Russo & Associates, representing The Learning Experience, told planners on Tuesday that he had redesigned the daycare to only allow left hand turns to exit, preventing drivers from crossing the southbound lane of West Street when leaving. He also expanded the parking lot, allowing more cars to queue on the property and prevent spillover onto the roadway.
“We have come back with a plan that we believe will address those concerns,” Coon said.Town approval
Town planners unanimously approved the site plan and special permit during Tuesday’s meeting.
“I commend the applicant for coming back and making the modifications,” said Bob Hammersley, the commission chairman and a Republican. “I think the addition of the right turn only lane out of this facility is certainly something I appreciate and shows you listened to what we said a month ago.”
“I like that it’s a right-hand turn only,” said Christina Volpe, a commission member and Democrat. “This is a safer model than the one previously proposed to us.”
The Learning Experience facility will be able to accommodate up to 153 students and will have a playground. The company has locations throughout the country and has a facility in Glastonbury.
There’s an abandoned single-family home on the 1268 West St. property, which will be demolished to make way for the daycare.Neighbor concerns
West Street area residents have voiced opposition to the daycare and the increased traffic it would bring.
Tammy Balch, a West Street homeowner just south of the planned daycare, said she was worried about getting in and out of her driveway.
“My biggest concern is traffic,” she said. Balch also asked what could be built as a buffer between the two properties.
Coon said the driveways were about 45 feet apart and didn’t expect an impact on Balch.
“Typically driveways separated by that distance are adequate,” he said.
Balch and the developers were going to work out what buffer, either a privacy fence or trees, would be best.