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Commonwealth's Counties

Changes to optional process for approving child day care in residential neighborhoods passes

Under current law a locality may by ordinance allow a zoning administrator to use an administrative process to issue zoning permits for a “family day home” accommodating 5 to 12 children under the age of 13.

SB 1094 (Favola) and HB 2569 (LaRock) modify this provision in state code (see 15.2-2292) in two ways. First, it changes “may” to “shall” so that if no written objections to a proposed daycare for 5 to 12 children are received, then the zoning administrator must issue the permit. Second, new language lays out a process whereby the zoning administrator may issue or deny the permit if objections are received, or (if required by ordinance) kick the decision up to the local governing body for consideration.

VACo supported an amendment to the legislation that clarifies an application must also comply all other applicable local ordinances to be administratively approved by the zoning administrator.

Both bills have passed each chamber unanimously and the Governor is expected to sign them into law with an effective date of July 1, 2019. Counties that utilize this optional provision to issue zoning permits should review these changes and consider how to proceed in updating their approval process.

VACo Contact: Joe Lerch, AICP

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