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Day care center denied approval for expansion

A Jessup day care center has been denied permission to expand by a county administrative hearing officer, citing the lack of "public need."

Hector Rocha and Holly Stilton, owners of the Country Day Care Center in the 2900 block of Jessup Road, had sought a special zoning exception to increase the number of children in their care from 29 to 86.

Hearing officer Robert C. Wilcox denied the request last week even though several parents testified at a Jan. 26 hearing that they would rather use an expanded Country Day Care Center than other nearby facilities.

Day care centers are permitted in residential zones, but only if the operators can demonstrate a need in the community and obtain a special zoning exception.

Opponents of the expansion -- neighbors who are fearful of increased traffic on Jessup Road and changes in the community's residential character -- testified there was no public need. They listed 18 licensed day care centers within six miles that have vacancies.

"Zoning authorities cannot be placed in the position of bestowing the blessings of official approval on competitive businesses based merely on who holds the popular edge," Mr. Wilcox said in his Feb. 24 ruling.

The day care center has 30 days to appeal the ruling to the county Board of Appeals.

Reduction of bail denied for Odenton man

A Circuit Court judge yesterday refused to reduce bail for a 35-year-old former campus police officer charged with arson after a fire destroyed his Odenton home in December.

Robert J. Groseclose, formerly of the 1200 block of Brietwert Ave., remains in the county detention center on $50,000 bail after a hearing yesterday before Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.

Mr. Groseclose, an Army veteran who worked as a police officer at the University of Indiana at Pennsylvania, was charged with arson Jan. 20 in the Dec. 23, 1992, fire that destroyed his home.

Deputy Public Defender James McCarthy asked that bail be reduced yesterday, arguing that Mr. Groseclose is a longtime member of an Odenton church, is active in community organizations, has custody of his three children and has an apartment waiting for him in Odenton.

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