Conditional use permit granted for preschool to be located in former Newman Center

July 13, 2018

SPEARFISH — There will be a new preschool in Spearfish soon.

The Spearfish Planning Commission Tuesday granted a conditional use permit (CUP) to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church for 115 W. Lincoln St., a house that has been used as the St. Joseph Newman Center for the church’s college ministry, to allow for a preschool in the one- and two-family residential zoning district.

City Planner Jayna Watson explained that the property was granted a conditional use permit in 2003 to allow the existing building, which had been used previously as an apartment complex, to be used as a Catholic student outreach center. A new BHSU Newman Center is currently being constructed at the corner of King and University streets closer to the campus of Black Hills State University, allowing the former Newman Center site to be available for reuse.

Watson described that the zoning surrounding the site consists of mixed uses, with both residential and commercial districts, making the proposed preschool (defined in the zoning ordinance as a child care center, though this request is for an educational center, hence the use of the word preschool) compatible with the surrounding uses.

It is not expected to generate significant additional traffic to the area, and Watson described that the site plan shows that parking currently exists to accommodate the proposed use. There are four parking spaces north of the property within the public right-of-way to serve the lot, and there is a 74-space parking lot to the sound of the building that is owned by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church as well.

The first floor of the building would be used as a preschool, and the site plan shows a fences play yard to be located along Lincoln Street. Watson said that zoning code provides options for fencing within the front setback: It could be up to four feet tall if it is a solid or opaque fence or taller if it is an open design like chain link, open pickets, etc.

She added that the proposed use would not result in any unusual nor unreasonable noise, as it is not unusual to hear children playing in a residential district. Watson added that the ambient noise level of the traffic from Main Street would likely be more noticeable than the outdoor activities at the preschool.

Owners within 140 feet of the site were notified of the request, and a sign advertising the date of the public hearing was also posted on the site. No comments were received pertaining to the request, and no one offered comment during the public hearing Tuesday.

The applicant previously explained that due to the size of the facility, there would be 15-20 children maximum at the preschool, with three to four staff members hired, should the CUP be granted.

Based on the staff findings, which showed that all necessary conditions had been satisfied, no additional conditions were imposed as part of the CUP, and the commission unanimously approved the request. Commissioners Toby Bordewyk and Drew Skjoldal were absent.

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