MARQUETTE - The Marquette Planning Commission Tuesday approved a conditional-use permit for a group day care home at 21 Elder Drive.
The commission decided the request from Lindsay and Scott Brogan meets the requirements of the zoning ordinance, despite a petition signed by neighbors against the permit being granted.
Several residents also spoke at the Tuesday public hearing, citing concerns about noise, traffic, safety and a drop in property values were the group day care home, which would be run 24 hours a day, allowed.
Gordon Peterson, a resident along Elder Drive, said in a prepared statement, "The owners of this business must prove this business promotes the common good of and is accepted by residents living on Elder Drive south of Center Street."
Peterson pointed out 26 neighborhood residents did not support the permit and signed the petition.
Lindsay Brogan already is the primary operator of a licensed family care home for six children at her Elder Drive residence, which is zoned RG - General Residential.
The zoning ordinance allows for up to 12 children at the next level, a group day home, which is allowed as a conditional use in the RG district.
In a staff review/analysis from the city planning department, it was stated a main concern would be the potential activity of up to 12 children playing outside at one time becoming a noise nuisance to surrounding properties. Another concern would be the exposure of children to motor vehicle traffic during pick-up and drop-off hours.
The commission approved the permit, under the conditions the facility make needed upgrades as required by state law. The commission also is to review the home within a year.
Commission Chairman Steven Lawry said, "I do feel that much of the fear here is a perceived problem that may or may not arise."
Lawry said he believes once the group home is in place, it would not necessarily lead to any of the problems discussed at the meeting.
"We have an obligation to protect that quality of life, and I'm not sure that the arguments that we're hearing are arguments that would stand up to a review of that," he said.
Commissioner Paul Schloegel acknowledged Elder Drive is a quiet area with no outlet. However, he pointed there's no guarantee that six more children at the residence would cause more disruption.
"It hasn't come out that anybody's complained about the original six that have been there," Schloegel said.
Lindsay Brogan said that at her current family care home, children are not outside all at once, plus she doesn't allow them to play in her front yard without her. Also, it's rare for children to stay the night at the facility.
"I'm really passionate about children," she said. "That's the thing I love most in the world."
Scott Brogan said their home has an outdoor play structure in the backyard and rooms in the basement for play and napping.
"We do provide evening times and we found that there are a number of families, especially single mothers in the community, that appreciate these later times," he said.
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.