MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WRIC)—After nearly two decades in business, the owner of a daycare in Chesterfield County fears she may have to close her doors, leaving parents to scramble for other options.
Jonie Roberts owns Roberts Home Away From Home, a childcare center she runs out of her Brandermill house. She cares for at most 11 kids, and provides a unique service for parents who don't always work a 9-to-5 job.
"This is a place where children are loved, protected, nurtured and educated," Roberts said. "We're a 24-hour family day home."
But after 17 years in business, Roberts may have to shut it down, forcing parents to seek childcare elsewhere.
"I don't know what we would do without Ms. Jonie," said Stacy Rogers, who moved near Roberts to send his two children to Roberts Home Away From Home. "She is their second mom."
Matt Ritter leaves his three girls with Roberts.
"We have been at this daycare center for over seven years," Ritter said. "Our oldest, she has grown up here; this is like a home."
A new state law requires Roberts to apply for a Conditional Use Permit, but after all these years in operation, the Brandermill Community Association may deny the request.
BCA's president says several board members are concerned that if they give Roberts approval, that would open the doors for similar businesses, and would ultimately lead to congestion and traffic in Brandermill.
In a statement from BCA Community Manager John S. Bailey, ABC 8 News was told the board first took issue with daycare back in 2003, stating it violates one of its covenants which says, "All lots in said Residential Areas shall be used for residential purposes exclusively."
"Seventeen years," Roberts said. "It's my life, it's not a career for me."
Rogers said, "I'm really kind of afraid what would happen if we lost her."
Reverend Mark Divens has lived across the street from the daycare for 16 years.
"I think it is an asset to the community; we need business like this," Divens said. "This is the widest part of the cul de sac, and the driveway is the widest driveway. There isn't an issue of traffic; I've never seen it. So, I don't understand why they're saying this."
Bailey says the board is waiting for an opinion from legal counsel on the matter, and will vote on Roberts' application Monday at 7 p.m. at Brandermill's Harbour Point Clubhouse.
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