HOPKINTON— On Monday night, the Hopkinton Town Council amended several zoning ordinances to allow a day care facility for children to be located at 111 Main St., Hope Valley.
Christine Austin and Amy Vachon, future proprietors of The Kids Company had already filed the necessary petitions to open a day care center, which the town council heard on June 3 and June 17, 2013. The problem in front of the council was that the day care’s location was in a neighborhood business zone, which limits permitted uses to real estate offices or professional offices.
After Councilor Barbara Capalbo made a motion to add “day care center” as a new category to the permitted uses in a neighborhood business zone, discussion ensued on water usage, septic systems, and Hope Valley’s water line vis-a-vis the size of Hopkinton’s land lots, which range from 0.09 acre to more than two acres.
Council Vice President Sylvia Thompson said she did not want an amendment that would allow day care centers to be located on Hopkinton’s small land parcels, especially those located along Hope Valley’s water line. She also said she was familiar with the town’s septic and water problems from the 1980s and 1990s and wanted the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to evaluate the proposal for the day care center.
Thompson then moved to amend Capalbo’s motion to a special use permit for the day care’s location.
“It’s another hoop to have to jump through but some of Hopkinton’s lots are small,” she said.
Capalbo said that she was still in favor of day care centers in neighborhood business zones “by right” rather than by special permit.
“I think this is one of the most innocuous uses known to man. I think it’s fabulous to have small children, I think they make neighborhoods safer. I think this kind of business is to be encouraged, to be welcomed,” she said.
“Daycare centers can be on one eighth of an acre to several acres. They do not have a heavy use of water,” she added.
For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the July 4 issue of the Chariho Times.