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Washington Township residents fight daycare plan

| Saturday, June 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Residents of Meadow Highlands Drive in Washington Township are fighting a proposed daycare center in their residential neighborhood.

Patrick and Katherine Green want to open a 24-hour daycare center licensed for up to 80 children from infants to age 12 at a home located on four acres at 223 Meadow Highlands Drive.

The couple owns Grandma's House child care center in Apollo.

They said the second location would primarily serve people working shifts at the nearby Westmoreland Business and Research Park, which is mostly in Upper Burrell.

“The whole purpose to enhance the community,” Katherine Green said.

Township supervisors delayed their decision on whether to allow the business because of concerns about adequate parking until July 1.

The dozen residents who attended Thursday's supervisor's meeting say they're concerned about increased traffic, noise and a business operating near their homes.

“It's nice up there; it's peaceful, it's quiet,” resident Neal Ciorra told supervisors. “That's the way we want to keep it.”

However, supervisors are limited in the reasons why they can deny a request because the township doesn't have zoning. It uses a Land Use and Subdivision Ordinance to govern decisions.

That means supervisors cannot deny the request simply because the daycare would be in a residential area, said Solicitor Wes Long.

He cited a case in which a judge overturned another township's decision to deny a request based on concerns about more traffic. That township also had a land use ordinance and no zoning.

But if the Greens are unable to allay the township's concerns about adequate parking, the supervisors could deny the request.

“The parking condition is a legitimate issue,” Long said, “and that needs addressed.”

The Greens' original plans call for spaces for staff and an additional five spaces for parents to drop off children.

The daycare likely would not have more than 35 to 40 children on site at one time and would have staggered drop-off times, but supervisors said at least 25 spaces are needed.

Parents also would be strictly prohibited from parking on Meadow Highlands, supervisors said.

Last month, Meadow Highlands residents presented a petition with 20 signatures of those who oppose the daycare.

Katherine Green said they haven't yet bought the property and plan to ask the seller for a one-month extension on the contract to resolve the site plan design issues.

“We don't want to do anything to damage our community,” she said. “We live there.”

Residents said they've hired an attorney and are likely to pursue the issue in court if the supervisors approve the business.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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