Child care center seeks zoning change

By Lina Wu
Posted 1/8/20

Building Blocks Child Care Center presented its official request for the Town of Newburgh to amend its zoning code on the B district at a recent work session. This amendment would become official …

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Child care center seeks zoning change

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Building Blocks Child Care Center presented its official request for the Town of Newburgh to amend its zoning code on the B district at a recent work session. This amendment would become official with a local law being implemented by the town.

Stephen J. Gaba of Drake Loeb Attorneys at Law presented on behalf of Building Blocks. According to Gaba, Building Blocks would like for the Town of Newburgh to permit the usage of a nursery school for pre-school children in the B zoning district. This approval would be subject to the granting of site plan approval and a special use permit.

Building Blocks has a long history going back to 1997 in the Town of Newburgh. They acquired their property from the Dan Leghorn Engine Company no. 1. The property is based at 248 Lakeside Road. The property is located in the B district. A nursery school for pre-school children was approved by the town for the main building and has operated since 1997. The accessory building has been used as a storage building in connection with the nursery school.

In 2007, Building Blocks applied for the accessory building to be used as a classroom for attendees. The application was referred by the town planning board to the zoning board of amendments [ZBA]. Since 2007, the ZBA and Building Blocks has been in tension over the approval of the application. The ZBA voted to approve the motion that the previously granted approval of the main nursery school building did not extend to the accessory building.

“The petitioner’s [Building Blocks] business has grown over the years to the point where additional space is required to accommodate the child care needs of residents in the Town of Newburgh,” reads section b of Building Blocks’ zoning amendment petition.

According to the zoning amendment petition, under the ZBA’s decision, Building Blocks cannot expand to the accessory building without a new use variance. The zoning petition states that the legal standards for a use variance are too stringent. “It is unlikely that the petitioner [Building Blocks] can meet the standard required for a grant of use variance,” said the petition.

‘The only way I can think of to do that [for Building Blocks to have additional space] is if there is a zoning change to allow nursery students a childcare center in the B [district].” said Gaba. Gaba emphasized that Newburgh has a need for childcare.

In order for the town to introduce and approve the local law officializing the amendment, the town would need to hold a public hearing. At the end of Gaba’s presentation, the town council discussed their concerns. It was emphasized that building issues have to go by zoning board standards. In addition, they discussed the details of the district. They also discussed the regulations that nursery schools are subject to. No final decision was made at the work session.

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