By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
WEST WINDSOR — Despite neighbors’ objections, the township Planning Board approved an application for a day-care center proposed for a single-family house at 240 Cranbury Road Wednesday night.
The proposed day-care center, which would be operated by Megharani Thube and her business partner, Priya Tipnis, would enroll up to 40 children. It would enroll a mix of pre-schoolers, from 2½ years to 5 years old, and school-aged children up to 13 years old who would take part in an after-school program.
Dubbed Honeybee Day School, it would be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The children would bring their own lunch, Ms. Thube said. There will not be any cooking or an active cafeteria at the day-care center. A playground is planned for the backyard of the 3.7-acre property.
Parents would drop off their children at Honeybee Day School and pick them up later. The older children would arrive by school bus, and a staff member would escort them from the bus into the day-care center, Ms. Thube said.
It is possible that special events would be held at the day-care center, such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations, she said. There is parking for 10 cars plus one handicapped-parking space, of which up to five spaces would be occupied by the staff. If there is a need for more parking, the yard could accommodate about two dozen cars.
Several neighbors, however, objected to the proposed day-care center. Most of their comments focused on the heavily traveled Cranbury Road. They claimed that the day-care center would add more cars to the busy road.
David Hepler, who lives nearby, said he would not like to look at a “parking lot” from the terrace of his home. He also expressed concern about the noise that would be generated by the day-care center — from the parents dropping off their children at 6 a.m. — and said it could be considered a public nuisance.
Mr. Hepler questioned whether West Windsor Township should be subsidizing a profit-making business, by approving the day-care center in a residential neighborhood. “It really is going to change the character of the neighborhood,” he added.
John Jones, who lives on Cranbury Road and is a 42-year resident, said the traffic on Cranbury Road gets under way at 5:30 a.m. as commuters drive to the Princeton Junction train station. Traffic begins to taper off around 9 a.m., but the road is heavily traveled all day long, he said.
Robert David Sanders, who also lives on Cranbury Road, agreed that traffic is an issue. He said he has to wait about 10 minutes before he can leave his driveway. He works nearby, and what used to be a short drive to work now takes about 20 minutes to travel two miles.
“I do not have a problem with people starting up a business,” Mr. Sanders said, but he does object to someone buying the land, starting up a business and not living there. The owner will go home to a residential area that is nice and quiet, “and that’s not fair,” he said.
When the public comment portion of the meeting was closed, Planning Board Chairman Marvin Gardner said it is his understanding that all of the children will not be dropped off and picked up at the same time.
The traffic will be spread out, between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., which will diminish the traffic impact, Mr. Gardner said, adding that “I agree, there is a traffic issue. Cranbury Road is incredibly unsafe.”
By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer