Permit draws complaints: Daycare idea gets sent back to city commission

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission simply couldn't make good neighbors on Eighth Street East over a special use permit at St. Benedict's Health Center.

The Dickinson Planning and Zoning Commission simply couldn't make good neighbors on Eighth Street East over a special use permit at St. Benedict's Health Center.

"I do thank the city commission for their respect in asking us to take a look at this recommendation again," Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Earl Abrahamson said. "We have no answers for this to make good neighbors out of this situation."

After more than four months of discussing whether to allow the permit for a group daycare, planning and zoning unanimously agreed Wednesday to send the issue back to the Dickinson City Commission with no recommendation.

The planning and zoning commissioners had previously denied the permit. City Attorney Tim Priebe said the no recommendation vote means the denial stands.

"I think the recommendation, the motion previously was to deny, so I think if your recommendation is other than that, you should take action," Priebe said. "My feeling is that your previous recommendation is still there."


Abrahamson said he had some concerns with the daycare before voting to send the issue back to the city commission.

"(Daycares are) a risky enterprise; they're not making a lot of money," Abrahamson said. "I do believe, too, that (full-day) kindergarten is going to have an impact on daycare, and the need for daycare will drop."

However, he said full-day, every day kindergarten would not take away the need for extended-hours or overnight daycare operations.

Neighbor Kathy Ugrin, who opposes the special use permit, had concerns with the daycare venture as well.

"This really isn't a daycare issue, not in my circumstance, not where I live and not what's going on in my neighborhood," Ugrin said. "I researched it too."

Ugrin further stated she had made some calls to area daycares after visiting with Stark County Social Services, who provide licenses for daycare operations, to get further insight.

"A majority of the daycares you'll find that are in the residential areas, he says, have been grandfathered in," Ugrin said of what she had been told by a daycare operator in town.

Ugrin said there are currently openings at some daycares she called and some operators told her there would be less of a need once full-day kindergarten begins.


Ugrin said she has four grandchildren, who in the past went to daycare in Dickinson, and said there was never a problem of finding openings for them. She said there was occasionally an issue of finding a daycare the parents liked.

During last Wednesday's special planning and zoning meeting, Commissioner Ron Hartl said he hoped St. Benedict's Administrator Jon Frantsvog could meet with concerned neighbors to address potential restrictions.

Since the last meeting, Frantsvog said he had met with Ugrin's husband Greg. However, the parties were not able to reach an agreement.

"The response on that issue was they were not interested in talking about any conditions to apply to the special use permit," Frantsvog said.

Frantsvog said the meeting also focused on conditions of the Ugrins selling their home to St. Benedict's.

As the issue has been discussed further, more neighbors spoke out in opposition to the permit request.

Abrahamson said he received a call from two citizens, Rose Renner and Deanna Davenport, opposed to the special use permit. Renner also sent in a letter.

"There's got to be a better way; it's a nice, quiet street, and the people who want to live there, eight families have given us their names," Abrahamson said. "We have respected them in the past."


Planning and zoning Commissioner Nancy MosBrucker agreed in the past the commission has not approved a special use permit where there has been opposition.

By the commissioners' count, eight neighbors oppose the request. In February, Frantsvog gathered a list of seven nearby residents who supported the group daycare. During a city commission meeting March 19, several St. Ben's employees also supported the special use permit.

In an unrelated matter, the commissioners also heard the issue of a proposed daycare center facility for the old St. Joseph's Elementary School. The request is to rezone the building from a low-density residential zone to a high-density residential zone.

Because of some neighbors' concerns, the issue was tabled at Wednesday's meeting. Planning and zoning Commissioner Ed Karsky recommended rezoning to medium-density residential with a special use permit to allow for additional uses.

Jeff Ficek purchased the building for the purpose of turning it into a center, which would eventually house approximately 100 youth and have five to seven apartments. He said there would also be a gymnasium for children to play in, but it could also be rented out to community groups.

The issue is to be addressed again during the next regular planning and zoning meeting.

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