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NEWBERRY – Greenfield East Pre-School is a step closer to expansion.  The City of Newberry Board of Adjustment (BOA) unanimously approved Resolution 2022-01 to allow expansion of Greenfield East Pre-School by special exception during a quasi-judicial public hearing.

Newberry planner Wendy Kinser-Maxwell presented the application to the BOA on behalf of applicant Jayme Tate, agent for GPS Newberry East LLC and the property owner.  Tate requested approval of expansion of the existing childcare facility on approximately 1.03 acres of land in Newberry’s Agricultural (A) Zoning District located at 21805 West Newberry Road.  

Greenfield East Pre-School has been operated as a childcare center since 2000, first under previous owners as “A Step Ahead Enrichment Center,” and then under the current ownership as Greenfield Preschool East since 2016.  Plans are to demolish a 460 square foot portion of the existing 2,550 square foot preschool and add approximately 3,600 square foot of new construction, resulting in a new preschool total square footage of 5,750.  The increased size will allow the school to expand its current ability to serve 58 children to 101.

On Jan. 3, the City’s Planning and Zoning Board unanimously voted to recommend approval to the BOA with one condition.  They requested that the applicant provide documentation from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) of compliance with state access requirements such as a traffic study, which may be applicable to the expanded childcare facility.

Kinser-Maxwell explained that a traffic study is not required as the preschool will not meet the FDOT threshold of 500 trips daily for a study to be required.

Existing ingress/egress points will remain the same with primary access on West Newberry Road and secondary access on Northwest 218th Street for emergency and parent parking access.  Greenfield East assists with maintenance of the Northwest 218th Street portion from West Newberry Road south to their access and will continue to do so. 

Tate said the preschool currently has a waitlist of over 100 children between the three Greenfield locations.  She expects the preschool east staff count will grow from 11 to approximately 20.  She also said she was attempting to break ground as soon as possible in order to build out Phase One of the project before Aug. 22, when school starts again.

Mayor Jordan Marlowe expressed concern about approving this application when the City hasn’t yet established requirements for the overlay district.  Planning and Economic Development Director Bryan Thomas and City Manager Mike New pointed out the difference between a special exception and other large-scale projects staff has asked developers to hold off on until the requirements are established.  Thomas said that construction would be on the back of the existing pre-school building and the front of the building would remain as it is.

Planning and Zoning Board Chair Naim Erched addressed the BOA and encouraged approval as a way to boost business growth in Newberry and support an existing business that is doing well in the community.

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