In an effort to lower barriers to set up needed daycare facilities, the Anacortes City Council on Monday unanimously passed an interim ordinance to temporarily remove some red tape in areas zoned for apartments and multifamily housing.

Development of daycare facilities that can take more than 12 adults or children in “R4 zones,” areas zoned for apartments and multifamily housing, typically requires a conditional-use permit and Type 4 review. That involves architectural drawings, neighborhood meetings and reviews from the planning commission and City Council.

This interim ordinance makes daycare facilities an approved use for the next six months without the time-intensive review process.

The current number of daycare facilities in Anacortes can only satisfy 12% of the demand, according to city documents, which is half of the state average.

“As the process takes so long, it deters folks from actually wanting to go through the process and develop more daycares in the city of Anacortes,” Planning Director Don Measamer said.

Two daycare facilities are in planning stages now that could benefit from the interim ordinance, Measamer said.

One may care for between 20 and 30 children, and the other is a combined school and daycare.

City staff will put together a work plan and the planning commission will look into impacts and benefits of the daycares bypassing the Type 4 review via the interim ordinance, Measamer said.

“I think we have a review process in there that would catch some of the things – obviously we know it’s a needed capacity,” Councilmember Matt Miller said.

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I cover health, environment, business and more at the Anacortes American. Feel free to send me tips at qinghram [at] goanacortes.com.

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