Soldotna ordinance would streamline child care permitting in more city zones

Jake

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
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Approval has been given by The Soldotna City Council for a new ordinance that would simplify the permitting process for day care centers to be in more city zones. If the legislation is approved, it would amend the sections of Soldotna's zoning code. Which means, day care centers providing child care for up to five children or more, would be considered a permitted principal use in Soldotna's rural residential & single-family/two-family residential districts.

Any day care centers currently operating in said districts, will have to obtain a conditional use permit from the city. These changes could make the permitting process much faster, and could also cut costs for day care operators. Not only that, but it would still follow the city's current standards on day cares. Days cares already have principal permitted use in Soldotna’s multifamily, limited commercial, commercial, and institutional zoning districts though. Those will not require something like a conditional use permit or approval from any planning commission. Though day cares will still be required to obtain an administrative permit in the zones affected by the ordinance.

If you live in the area, The Soldotna City Council will be having a public hearing with a vote on said ordinance. The ordinance is still pending final approval, so you can get out there and have your voice heard. That meeting will be taking place January 24th.

For more on this news and how you can take part in the meeting, you can follow the story here: Peninsula Clarion
 
Location
Soldotna, Alaska, United States
I'm for this, there is always a need for better child care in the world, and if this means allowing for more areas to allow child care centers, even better. Of course it hasn't been approved yet, but I can see this sort of this passing pretty fast.
 
I don't live in Soldotna. Had I been a resident of Soldotna, I would have certainly participated in the voting in favor of this ordinance. By the way, it is already January 28, what is the outcome of this voting? Was it voted in favor?
 
I don't live in Soldotna. Had I been a resident of Soldotna, I would have certainly participated in the voting in favor of this ordinance. By the way, it is already January 28, what is the outcome of this voting? Was it voted in favor?

Good question. I didn't see any follow up news coverage. It also doesn't look like Soldotna's city website has any updates yet either.

It basically sounds like Soldotna is experiencing a day care shortage and they're trying to incentive establishment of more day care centers by switching them to permitted principal use.

There are good reasons cities might want to keep day care conditional use, though. Approval under a conditional use permit generally involves a public hearing and city councils get direct say in what gets approved and what the requirements are. For example, as I was looking this up in the news I noticed an article talking about controversy and council involvement in a Soldotna day care approved back in 2016 under a conditional use permit. The city seemed to get pretty involved in that one, including disallowing the provider from having "a sign 'indicating the presence of a daycare facility' even if allowed by the Soldotna sign ordinance," among other case-specific requirements. As a sidenote, the signage requirement seems a bit over-the-top and overprotective, in my opinion, though I assume they had their reasons...

Bottom line: Soldotna has demonstrated that they value having day care be conditional use in the past, so it is notable they were willing to shift them to permitted principal use. The need for more day care must have really been compelling.
 
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