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Louisville Metro Government seeks public input on zoning regulations of childcare facilities

The open forums are expected to be held in early October with an aim to hear resident's childcare needs and how to provide better care.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Metro Government's Office of Planning and Design Services is planning a series of public forums to discuss residents' childcare needs and how to provide better care. 

Although Louisville Metro does not regulate how childcare businesses operate, the city's Land Development Code does dictate where providers can operate.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, some childcare providers shut their doors or reduced capacities, leading to even greater demand for fewer places. 

According to Louisville Metro, even before the pandemic, Black and minority parents, particularly single parents and women of color, were more likely to have trouble finding childcare.

“The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the struggle working parents face to find stable, affordable childcare, forcing some to take reduced hours or leave the workforce altogether, and as we’ve seen with health, violence and other issues, lack of access to childcare disproportionately affects our Black and minority residents,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.

Additionally, a childcare provider caring for eight or more children is restricted to commercial and office zones – a current regulation that can result in parents having to travel far from work or home to access childcare. 

The city's land is 50% residential and since 2010, those looking to expand home child care have not been able to request it with the state because of those current zoning restrictions.

"We're exploring  whether or not capacity may need to be increased at a local level, so that the local barrier is out of the way," Metro's Planning and Zoning Joel Dock said. "As we get into the post pandemic environment, we want to know if in home care can be increased and fill that gap between the small providers and the large commercial centers."

Councilwoman Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-8) has expressed her support for reforming zoning regulations related to childcare.

"We need transformational change in Louisville's childcare industry. We know that families struggle to find care, and that one out of four women who are unemployed cannot return to work because they cannot find affordable childcare,” Chambers Armstrong said. “I look forward to working with Planning and Design to understand how zoning can be a tool to promoting greater, more equitable access to childcare."

Public forums will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Saturday, October 9, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Petersburg Park, 5008 E. Indian Trail
  • Sunday, October 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. at California Park, 1104 S. 16th St.
  • Tuesday, October 12, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Iroquois Park, 5216 New Cut Road
  • Thursday, October 14, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Hounz Lane Park, 2300 Hounz Lane

Additionally a virtual open house will be held Oct. 5.

For more information on the forums, click here.

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