Introduction - What is this policy about?
The purpose of this policy is to provide advice and guidance to persons seeking to establish Child Minding Centres within the City of Casey.
A Child Minding Centre is defined as:
"A building used for gain to care for at least 5 children not permanently resident in the building"
Council acknowledges that Child Minding Centres provide a valuable service to the community, particularly given the high proportion of families with young children living within the municipality. This policy aims to ensure their successful integration (particularly in residential areas) by ensuring that good design and siting principles are incorporated throughout the development process.
Objectives - What does this policy hope to achieve?
- To enable the establishment of Child Minding Centres within the municipality in both residential and commercial areas.
- To ensure that the location and siting of Child Minding Centres is appropriate, having regard to orderly and proper planning principles.
- To ensure that all Child Minding Centres have minimal impact on the amenity of the area, with respect to the design of the building, traffic, car parking, access and overall site layout.
- To ensure that the design of Child Minding Centres complements the style and character of abutting buildings and the overall streetscape.
Performance Criteria - What are the requirements of this policy?
- Where locating in residential zones, consideration needs to be given to location options, to ensure that the establishment of Child Minding Centres are not going to have an adverse impact on the residential environment.
- There are no restrictions on the location of Child Minding Centres within commercial zones. However, the applicant should take into account ease of accessibility in selecting a location. Peripheral locations are also preferred.
- The location of Child Minding Centres along service roads in residential areas is not supported, due to the impact on the residential character of the main road and the potential for ‘ribboning’ along the service roads which is discouraged.
- Larger Child Minding Centres (ie. those dependant upon wider catchments than the immediate residential area and typically having in excess of 30-40 children) should preferably be established on major roads(i.e. collector roads), where any additional traffic can easily be accommodated on the existing road network.
- The location of Child Minding Centres in cul-de-sacs or smaller access streets is not generally supported, due to the impact on the amenity of the area. In some circumstances small scale centres (ie. those not dependant upon wider catchments than the immediate residential area and typically having less than 30 children) may be able to locate on access streets. However, applicants must be able to demonstrate to Council that the proposal will not cause any adverse impact on the immediate residential environment.
- Preferably, Child Minding Centres should also be located adjacent to or in proximity to similar or complementary community support facilities, such as schools, local shops or community facilities. Not only does this prevent ad-hoc development of these facilities within residential areas, but it contributes to the creation of a community focus for residents. However, this is not an essential requirement.
3.2 Car Parking and Access
- The minimum parking requirements for all Child Minding Centres are as follows:
- One (1) staff car parking space per staff member (as determined by the Office of Pre-School and Child Care or its successor).
- An off-street drop-off bay, capable of accommodating at least 3 vehicles at any one time.
- One (1) space per 20 children.Preferably, the drop-off bay should be a `drive-through' arrangement, with separate ‘in’ and ‘out’ access points. For smaller centres where there is insufficient room on-site for this to occur, the drop-off bay may be replaced by the provision of 3 car parking spaces.
- The layout and dimension of car parking spaces and access aisles must be in accordance with the Planning Scheme.
- All parking is to be provided on the site itself. There should be no reliance on on-street parking (even where indented parking bays are provided in the street).
- All vehicles must be able to enter and leave the site in a forward direction.
- The car parking spaces and drop off-bay should be designed to cause minimum impact on residential amenity, and should be highly visible and accessible from the street (ie. long driveways accessing car parking not visible from the street are not generally supported, as they will have a greater impact on neighbours' amenity and encourage on-street parking).
- The location and design of access points to a site shall be to the satisfaction of Council's Engineering Department (and Vic Roads, where applicable).
- All car parking and access ways shall be constructed in a sealed surface (such as concrete, asphalt or pavers) to the satisfaction of Council's Engineering Department.
3.3 Building Design
- The scale, character and design of Child Minding Centres shall be compatible with and complementary to the streetscape and the surrounding physical environment.
- In residential areas, the design must respect the residential character of the area (or future residential area), having regard to the scale and form of building design, including setbacks, facade treatment, choice of building materials and colour scheme.
- In commercial areas, there is greater scope for variations in design. However, as a general principle buildings should still be compatible with the urban design themes of surrounding commercial developments. Care should still be taken to ensure that the primary function of the building is reflected in its design.
3.4 Landscaping and Fencing
- All Child Minding Centres must be landscaped to soften the visual impact of the development and to assist in their integration into the streetscape. As a general principle, the landscaping should complement and be compatible with the landscape character of the surrounding area.
- Where car parking areas abut residential properties, and along the street frontage, a minimum width of 2m is generally considered desirable for screen planting.
- Where large shade trees are proposed (ie. in outdoor play areas) care must be taken in the choice of species and their actual location, so as to avoid future problems with buildings, drainage pipes, pathways, etc.
- All fencing shall be constructed of materials that complement the character of the surrounding area.
- Where cyclone wire fencing is to be used to enclose outdoor play areas, either black PVC coated or black painted mesh will generally be encouraged. Conventional paling fencing for internal screen fencing may not be supported.
- Where considered appropriate, and particularly where outdoor play areas are opposite neighbouring habitable room windows or outdoor living areas, Council may require specific fencing treatment (ie. a higher fence or lattice to be erected above the existing fence) in conjunction with appropriate landscape screening.
Applicants should discuss specific landscaping requirements and species selection with Council Officers prior to preparing detailed plans. For more detailed guidance on landscaping matters, applicants should refer to Council's Landscaping Policy.
3.5 Advertising Signs
- For residential areas, the preferred level of advertising signage will generally be as follows:
- Maximum signage should not exceed 2m2 in area, and 1.8 m in height.
- Maximum of two (2) signs per site.
- One (1) low profile sign located in the front landscaped area is encouraged. Where a second sign is proposed, it should be located back on the building at eye level, adjacent to the entrance.
- Where car parking access is one-way, a low level direction sign adjacent to access points to direct vehicles is encouraged.
- The size and type of advertising should clearly identify the site without detracting from its residential environs.
- In commercial areas, the requirements relating to signage levels will vary according to the nature of the commercial area and the respective planning scheme and policy controls. As a general principle though, the size and type of signage should be compatible with other similar uses in the locality.
For more detailed guidance regarding advertising signs in these areas, applicants are also referred to Council's Outdoor Advertising Policy.
3.6 Sign on Site
Where the use for a Child Minding Centre does not commence immediately, Council may require that a sign of 1 m2 in area be erected on the site within 4 weeks of the issue of a permit, advising that a permit has been issued. The sign must be maintained in good condition until the use has commenced. This requirement will be included as a permit condition.
Applications should be accompanied by plans and/or documentation that enables a full and proper assessment of all objectives and performance criteria outlined in this Policy. Failure to do so may result in the processing of the application being delayed until such time as the information is submitted.
Council policy documents change from time to time and it is recommended that you consult the electronic reference copy at www.casey.vic.gov.au/policiesstrategies to ensure that you have the current version. Alternatively you may contact Customer Service on 9705 5200.