Woodlands home-based childcare finally gets business license

A Woodlands home-based childcare business that had operated illegally for nearly two years and had an initial business permit denied will now be allowed to open its doors to children on a conditional basis for one year.

The ruling by the township’s Development Standards Committee on Feb. 3 means the business has a conditional permit to operate through January 2022 as long as the owners continued to comply with township covenants. The owners made a series of mandated changes to comply with covenants in recent weeks after having their request for a license denied in December.

Babar and Ayesha Rafiq, the owners of the childcare business The Woodlands Day Care (Promising Child Home Daycare, which is located at 55 Raindance Court, had operated the business for several years with no permit before being turned into the township’s DSC enforcement team by a neighbor. The business, the neighbor claimed, was improperly advertised online with the address and also exceeded the maximum space of a home allowed for use, which is only 25 percent of a dwelling.

The couple, who say they care for children whose parents are usually medical workers or other “frontline” employees, first applied for the home business permit in December. At that hearing, Babar Rafiq testified on Dec. 16 meeting,that about 12 children were cared for at the home each week day starting at 6:30 a.m. His efforts to secure a license in December were rejected, which led the duo to make numerous changes to their home business.

The Rafiq family returned in January, seeking a re-hearing of their originally denied request, which was granted. Now, after making significant changes to the business model, they reapplied and were approved — albeit for only one year.

Arthur Bredehoft, the new chairman of the DSC as of January, said in an email the committee reviewed the changes to operations presented by the family and agreed to allow the business to operate.

Bredehoft said the owners of the business must comply with several requirements in order to retain the license. Violations of the rules could lead to a review of the permit in the future.

“(The) Home business must remain in compliance with the Residential Development Standards. All clients to park in owner’s driveway. (The) Business space restricted to 25 percent maximum. Advertisement not to include physical address,” Bredehoft explained in an email. “(The) Owner to diligently remove references to physical address on social media. The committee reserves the right to review upon any confirmed complaints or conditions not being met.”

Home businesses are strictly regulated in the township under complex, and sometimes controversial, covenants. The limitations on home businesses are intended to safeguard other residents around home businesses from the unintended elements of a business, such as parking problems or noise. Short-term rentals of homes are classified differently than home businesses and have different rules to abide by.

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