Learning center project gets OK from town

Spotted Zebra expansion to allow after-school, weekend hours and activity center

— Questions arose regarding the safety of children at a planned expansion of the Spotted Zebra Learning Center and Bizzy Beez Activity Center at a Colonie Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11, but the body ended up giving the green light to the project.

The existing business, located at 2 Kross Keys Drive in Albany, is currently 4,500 square feet. The owners are working to expand to a 10,000-square-foot center down the street. The Spotted Zebra, an integrated learning center for children “typical” and special needs children ages three to five, plans to add the Bizzy Beez Activity Center to have after-school and weekend hours. The Bizzy Beez Activity Center will be open to the public on weekends and after-school hours.

The Planning Board approved the application for concept acceptance after some board members expressed concern about a nearby stormwater detention pond adjacent to the proposed center.

Board member Louis Mion questioned 3t Architects’ Scott Townsend on whether there would be a safe enough barrier to keep children from falling into the pond. Townsend said the center would have a playground that is fenced off, as well as an array of landscaping around the fence.

“All of the classrooms … as well as the larger space of the Bizzy Bee … each one of these has access to the back play area,” Townsend said. “We now totally enclosed this with a fence. It’s about 3-foot-9.”

Townsend also said the area is “kind of an odd site” but has a “gentle slope” toward the drainage area.

Colonie Director of Planning and Economic Development Joe LaCivita suggested extra locks or alarms on the doors to prevent children from wandering out of the center.

Chuck Voss, of Barton and Loguidice, previously conducted a concept review of the plan, looking at critical issues, storm water system and general site layout.

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