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Planning and Zoning Commission Approves Educational Playcare's Playground Plan

The new kids playground will be in the parking lot of its Riverdale Farms Shopping Center facility in Avon.

got Planning and Zoning approval Tuesday to construct a new playground in its Riverdale Farms parking lot.

The child care services and education provider  – owned by Jane Porterfield and her husband, Gerry Pastor  – also has locations in Farmington, Simsbury and Windsor and offers many programs for kids, according to its website.

The application passed by a 5-2 vote, with Commissioners Carol Griffith and Jenna Ryan voting against it.

“It’s not what I envision as a commercial park area and I don’t think this play yard belongs in front of the building taking up parking spots,” Griffin said.

She called the plastic barriers blocking off the current play areas to control traffic "unsightly."

The playground will take up about 14 parking spaces, according to town planning staff comments and "eliminate traffic circulation in front of the building."

Commission Chairman Duane Star noted that the back of the building "drops off dramatically to the floodplain."

Educational Playcare expanded to Building 19, located in the "rear northeast corner" of Riverdale Farms Shopping Center after commission approval in January 2012. It also occupies Building 7, where 76 children go, Building 8 for 91 children, and Building 10 for 64 children. About 64 go to Educational Playcare's Building 19 location. That makes 295 kids total that go to Educational Playcare in Avon alone.

Application aside, Griffin advocated consolidating Educational Playcare's operation spaces.

“I think it needs to be a safe thing for kids, not a piece here and a piece here with cars coming through," she said. "As we were approving all these different things, I didn’t realize they were going to be so broken up. It seems they should be consolidated."

Town Planner Steve Kushner said it is becoming more of the norm these days for daycare facilities to be in commercial areas. He referenced a daycare looking to move in on Route 44. He said that this could be because that's what parents might look for as they frequent commercial parts of town to shop.

"The nature of daycare has changed," he said. "There is a disconnect between traditional zoning and where the marketplace wants to move.”

Educational Playcare is located at 124 Simsbury Road in Riverdale Farms in Avon.

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