Council Approves Day Care After Safety Concerns Addressed, One Member Still Opposed

The council voted 4-1 to approve the site plan for a new day care center.

It looks like a new day care is coming to Oakdale.

The city council approved a site plan for Little Minds Learning Center to build a 7,700 square foot building just south of Novation Credit Union. The council met for a special council meeting Wednesday night and voted 4-1, with Councilman Stan Karwoski casting the dissenting vote. Councilman Paul Reinke was absent.

The site plan first came before the council last month. The new facility would be located in close proximity to the Oak Marsh Golf Course. The council tabled the discussion due to safety concerns regarding the possibility of stray golf balls landing on the day care site and in the children's outdoor play area. 

The council asked the applicant to return to present a safety plan. The day care center provided the city with a three-step plan Wednesday night to address the safety concerns:

  1. Move fence 60 feet to the east to line up with the Novation Credit Union parking lot border. The outdoor play area would be 6,000 square feet, which is the minimum size required by the state Department of Human Services. 
  2. Plant a row of coniferous plantings after a 20-foot setback west of the fence that wraps around the northwest corner of the fenced play area. Trees and plants must be approved by the city forester.
  3. Fence (8 to 10 feet in height) be constructed adjacent to coniferous plantings. The fence must wrap around the northwest corner of the fenced play area.

The council approved the plan as presented with no changes, said Bob Streetar, the community development director. 

"They put together a real good plan to address any safety concerns and the council adopted it as presented," Streetar said.

While the plan addressed several safety issues that were discussed at the council meeting last month, Karwoski told Oakdale Patch that he still wasn't comfortable enough with the plan to approve it.

"We’ve been getting very good projects in Oakdale, so it's not that often that we turn them down," Karwoski said, "but I have to stand by core beliefs and I felt that the safety was not totally remedied."

Karwoski said the applicant added trees and tall fences, decreased the size of the play area and made numerous corrections, but he feels there is still a chance a golf ball could land in or near the play area.

"I golf a lot and it's unbelievable where these golf balls will go," Karwoski said. "Granted, it takes a bad shot to get into this area where the children will be, but I can't imagine it not happening."

Karwoski said that he had hoped the applicant would seek a different location, but that timing most likely played a role.

"I'd rather err on the side of safety here. I certainly welcome them to Oakdale and wish them success," Karwoski said. "I just hope we don't regret this in a year, two years, three years from now if someone were to get hurt."

Streetar said the day care construction should begin next week.


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