Group child care facility coming to Grosse Pointe City

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published January 24, 2023

GROSSE POINTE CITY — Parents looking for child care for their little ones will soon have a new option in the Grosse Pointes.

Sitting as the Planning Commission and then as the Grosse Pointe City Council, the council voted unanimously Dec. 19 in favor of a special use request for a home at 908 St. Clair Ave. to be used by Little Seedlings Childcare as a group child care facility. A maximum of 12 children per day will be at the home, which is on the corner, near the Staples store on Mack Avenue.

As City Planner John Jackson of McKenna Associates pointed out, the home is “right on the transition” from residential to commercial zoning, so “we thought it was appropriate” for this use.

Jackson said the facility would have to be licensed by the state and would be subject to regular inspections. In addition, he said the state has certain requirements for a facility like this, including at least 600 square feet of outdoor space for the children, which this property has in the backyard.

Little Seedlings owner Christina DelPizzo said she’s a former second grade teacher who launched her child care business after her son’s day care closed suddenly. She said she has hired fellow teachers for other Little Seedlings locations; the company has in-home child care facilities in Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham and Livonia and a handful of other cities in metro Detroit.

DelPizzo said she came to Grosse Pointe City because she has a close friend in the community who has struggled to find child care in the area — a common concern expressed by many parents.

“It seems you have a child care problem in Grosse Pointe,” DelPizzo said.

The teacher for the Grosse Pointe City location, Jessica Garnett, will be the licensee for the home.

DelPizzo said Little Seedlings is for children from 3 months to 4 years old. After that, she said the children are usually in preschool.

The teachers who work in the Little Seedlings homes live there rent-free, as those serve as their primary homes, DelPizzo said.

“It benefits the mothers in the community, and it benefits the teachers,” DelPizzo said.

In the six years since Little Seedlings started, “We’ve never had turnover so far” in teachers, DelPizzo said.

One of the conditions of approval by the council was that pickup and drop-off of children take place in the driveway.

DelPizzo said they stagger parent arrival and pickup times. The lower portion of the driveway will be used for pickup and drop-off to keep cars from spilling over into the roadway, she said.

“Rarely do we have more than one car in the driveway at a time,” DelPizzo said.

The teacher or teachers usually park in the garage or the driveway, she said.

Whenever there are more than six children at the home, the main teacher will also have an assistant teacher on hand.

Although this use will increase traffic slightly on St. Clair, it’s not expected to cause problems.

“The impact of traffic on St. Clair will not be an issue,” Jackson said.

Hours of operation will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

DelPizzo said there will be no sign on the property showing that it’s used for child care on weekdays. Children will not stay overnight at the home.

City Councilman Donald Parthum Jr. said this was a “good spot” for the facility, given the location across the street from Grosse Pointe City’s Public Safety Department.

A report from McKenna Associates concluded that this use of the property “should not have an adverse effect on public health, safety or welfare. In general, the provision of childcare services in the city would be a benefit to residents.”