January 31, 2022 12:35pm
Proposed zoning changes would increase access to child care in Louisville
The Louisville Metro Council is currently considering zoning changes that would expand the options where child care providers can operate in Louisville. The proposed changes would allow for expanded capacity for child care centers in residential zones and in industrial zones, designed to connect child care providers to where people live and work.
Currently in Louisville, in-home child care is capped at six children and child care centers are prohibited from operating in all R-4 and R-5 residential zones, which comprise 60% of land in Jefferson County. This has caused the availability of childcare in our state and region to deteriorate dramatically, leading to long waitlists and high costs. And the pandemic has only worsened this problem.
The need is greatest in the south and southwest areas of Louisville where there are areas with as few as 15 available child care spots per 100 children. Jefferson County has lost nearly 8% of its childcare capacity since March of 2020 and 45% of working parents in Louisville have left a job, changed jobs, or not taken a job due to lack of available child care.
The ordinance would allow the following changes:
- Child care homes in residential zoning districts could serve up to 12 children (with appropriate regulation and licensing from the Kentucky Division of Child Care).
- Child care centers could operate in residentially zoned areas in specific circumstances such as on current non-residential lots, corner lots, or to be included as part of a new neighborhood development plan.
- Child care centers could operate in industrial areas after meeting certain special standards, including approval by the APCD.
GLI Advocacy is focused on addressing child care shortages and recognize it is a significant work force barrier. This ordinance is only one step, and we are pursuing more solutions at both the state and local level to increase access and affordability for families. We believe that these modest changes would have an immediate impact for the accessibility of child care in Louisville.