A new 80-unit age-restricted apartment building downtown will have a child-care facility on the ground floor.
Bella Vita Estates spans a former parking lot between Roosevelt and Westervelt avenue, with the entrance on Westervelt. On Jan. 19, Neighborhood House Director Carol Presley asked the Planning Board to approve use of retail space for a child care center for up to 120 children.
Neighborhood House has child care centers on West Fourth Street and also on East Front Street in a retail strip owned by the developer who built the new apartment building. Presley said the new center would have eight classrooms with 15 children and two teachers each, for a total of 16 or 17 adults. The application also included a playground "down the street," she said.
Parking requirements for the center would be based on the number of employees and would differ from those for retail use, Planning Director Bill Nierstedt said. Presley said employees of the East Front Street center would also be parking on the lot, bringing the total to 29 spaces needed.
She said there would also be six spaces reserved for drop-off and pick-up, as parents must personally escort their children into the center. Not all parents would be driving, however, she said, as some walked to the location and others were dropped off by vans that also transported parents to work.
Hours for drop-off would be from 7 to 9 a.m. and children would be picked up between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m..
The playground, built through the Kaboom! program, is on a lot that Neighborhood House owns, Presley said. Some questions arose over how the playground was initially approved. The board asked for screening, lighting and trees for the playground as part of the approvals granted on Jan. 19.
The Planning Board usually meets on first and third Thursdays of each month. The January 19 meeting included the annual reorganization. The next regular meeting is 7:30 p.m. in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. See more about the Planning Board.