MONROE — Planning and Zoning Commissioners approved a special exception permit for a new after-school program at Monroe Elementary School, following a brief Public Hearing on Thursday, September 5.

The program would be operated by Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA, which already operates programs at both Stepney and Fawn Hollow Elementary Schools.

Principal Kelly Svendsen approached the Y last year with the suggestion that it expand into Monroe Elementary. Some Monroe Elementary students were already participating in the programs at the other two schools and there was general enthusiasm for opening the new program at Monroe Elementary.

The new program will operate from the close of the school day to 6 p.m. with a staff ratio of 1 to 10. Capacity would be limited to 60 students.

Students would receive a snack and participate in various activities until parents arrive to pick them up. Parents would pay for the program and financial assistance may be available if needed through the Y or Care for Kids.

The program would use the school’s cafeteria and possibly the gymnasium and playground, dependent on whether or not other school programs are using those spaces.

The special exception permit from Planning and Zoning is a first step in receiving state licensing of the program.

In other action, commissioners held an informal discussion with David Bjorklund, Jr., of Spath Bjorklund Associates, Inc. regarding a potential change in zone from B-1 to B-2 of a property located at 193 Main St. The property has been vacant since a fire in 2010.

The primary difference between the two business zones is the ability to include automotive uses in the B-2, but there are already several auto service facilities, a car wash and an oil change business located within the same B-1 zone.

Although each of those other properties existed prior to the B-1 designation, their presence, the applicant suggested, does create somewhat of a precedent for considering the zone change.

Commissioners expressed some tentative support for taking a closer look at that zone and potentially making some changes, including possibly realigning some of the boundary lines to conform to property lines.

Chairman William W. Porter stressed that the informal discussion at this meeting was just that, an informal conversation that is non-binding. Much additional study and discussion with property owners within that zone would need to take place before any change would be considered, and commissioners would not move forward without general support from affected property owners, including adjacent residential owners.

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