A Hyattsville firm is seeking approval from the Laurel City Council for its plan to open a professional child-sitting service at the Laurel Center Mall.
A proposed resolution before the council would permit child-sitting services to operate in areas zoned for commercial shopping centers.
Peter Voigt, president of Applied Research and Technology of Washington, a computer systems design firm in Hyattsville, said the service might be the first business of its kind in the country.
The service would allow parents to leave their children with trained personnel for one to four hours, paying for the supervision by the hour.
"We are working with the state to see what kind of regulations we have to comply with before we set the business up," Voigt said. "So far, it seems like there are ordinances governing full day-care centers but nothing dealing with a business of our kind because no one could have forseen this kind."
Voigt said he expects the idea will work well in large shopping centers, "where moving around with small children can be cumbersome."
Even if the service receives state and city approval, Voigt said, the firm still must consider "whether meeting regulations will be economically feasible."
In other business, the council approved annexing 18 acres on Sandy Spring Road. Ron Ladue, a local developer, wants to build 70 to 80 houses on the site, and the annexation will give him access to city services, a spokesman said.
In a public hearing held before the council meeting, several persons opposed a proposed development of Sandy Spring Park. A citizens advisory committee has recommended building three lighted sports fields in the park, but area residents are concerned that the fields would generate noisy crowds.
As an alternative plan, spokesmen representing a coalition of two dozen residents suggested building one unlighted sports field, a jogging track and a picnic area.
The council is still considering the development proposal.