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Day Cares and Zoning

The ability to operate a daycare is regulated in a variety of ways, this includes zoning. The Wichita-Sedgwick County Unified Zoning Code regulates where and how day cares are allowed to operate.

Wichita-Sedgwick County Unified Zoning Code

Information and Assistance

If you have any questions about operating a day care and zoning, then please feel free to contact the Planning Department at (316)268-4421 and ask for the Planner on Duty; or email planning@wichita.gov.

​Unified Zoning Code Definitions

Within the Unified Zoning Code, there are a few definitions that apply to day cares (see below).

  • Day Care, General means a Day Care center that provides care, protection and supervision for more than ten (10) individuals at any one time, including those under the supervision or custody of the day care provider and those under the supervision or custody of employees, or a Day Care center for ten or fewer individuals at any one time that is not operated as a Home Occupation.
  • Day Care, Limited means a Day Care center operated as a Home Occupation that provides care, protection and supervision for no more than ten (10) individuals at any one time, including those under the supervision or custody of the day care provider and those under the supervision or custody of employees.
  • Home Occupation means a business, profession, occupation or trade conducted within a Dwelling Unit or Accessory Structure for gain or support by a resident of the Dwelling Unit and that is accessory to the use of the Dwelling Unit as a residence.

Zoning and Day Care Locations

  • The Unified Zoning Code permits Day Care, Limited by right in nearly all zoning districts.
  • Day Care, General requires a Conditional Use (in certain zoning districts) to be approved by the Planning Commission and possibly the Governing Body. 

Zoning, Day Care, and Home Occupations

Per the Unified Zoning Code, residential occupants are allowed to operate a day care from their home (assuming licensing and other requirements are in order). This is called a Home Occupation.

If the house is zoned SF-5 or SF-10, then they are not allowed to have another employee (except for a substitute in some circumstances). Outside of SF-5 or SF-10 zoning, then they are allowed to have 1 additional employee at the day care.

If a Home Occupation day care would like to have additional employees, the property owner can apply for a Conditional Use to be a Day Care, General. 

Another option for a Home Occupation day care to have additional employees, is for the property owner to apply for a Variance (an exception for the property) from the Unified Zoning Code. Please note that the Board of Zoning Appeals must find that five (5) conditions exist at the site for this to be granted.

Additional Requirements for Day Care Uses

The Unified Zoning Code (Article III-D) also includes requirements for off-street parking spaces (1 per teacher + 1 per every 10 children over 12 children + 1 per every day care center vehicle) and limits on the times for outdoor play (7:30 am to 6:30 pm).

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I apply for a Conditional Use for a Day Care, Limited (allows for more than ten children / individuals)?

  • Download the Conditional Use application form
  • All applicants desiring to submit an application are encouraged to consult with the Planning Department prior to submittal. This consultation can be in-person or over the phone. The purpose of the consultation is to advise the applicant of the rights and responsibilities in submitting such an application. 
  •  Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the Planning Department at (316) 268-4421 or Planning@Wichita.gov.

Unified Zoning Code Changes

  • On September 1, 2022, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission - Advance Plans Committee considered a proposal to update the Unified Zoning Code to increase the number of pupils that can be cared for at a Home Occupation Day Care, Limited. The Committee approved a motion to recommend that the full Metropolitan Area Planning Commission consider the proposal.
  • On October 20, 2022, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission is was scheduled to consider the proposal to update the Unified Zoning Code regarding Home Occupation Day Cares. This was changed due to the need for additional public notice. It is anticipated that the Planning Commission will consider this item in November.
  • On November 17, 2022, the Unified Zoning Code updates are tentative scheduled to be considered as a public hearing item at Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission meeting.

Events

  • On September 1, 2022, the MAPC Advance Plans Committee considered the changes to the Unified Zoning Code and recommended that the item be presented to the full Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.
  • On November 17, 2022, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Metropolitan Area Planning Commission considered the changes and voted unanimously to adopt the changes and recommend adoption by both the Wichita City Council and Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners. 

Documents

UZC Day Care Proposed Changes - Draft - 2022-07-27