The Gaithersburg City Council is moving toward approving a change in zoning regulations that would allow day-care centers to be in commercial and industrial zones to serve businesses' employes there.

The zoning change, expected to be approved by the City Council next week, would allow day-care centers in commercial areas without a special exception permit. The centers are now allowed only in residential areas and only with a special exception, city planning director Jennifer Russel said.

"There is a movement afoot to locate day-care centers near the work place. It is convenient for parents, reduces absenteeism and allows for interchange between parents and children during the day, such as at lunchtime," Russel said. "It seems a logical extension of zoning regulations because of the terrific need."

Day-care centers still would be allowed in residential areas with a special exception permit, she said.

In other business, the council is considering an application for a special permit to build housing for the elderly in a neighborhood of single-family houses.

The Asbury Methodist Home wants to build the duplex housing in the neighborhood at Russell Avenue and Lee Street. The city liked the idea of housing for the aged, Russel said, but wanted to zone the area for single homes.

The city then proposed to give Asbury a special permit to build the slightly denser housing. Representatives of Asbury spoke in favor of the motion at a hearing last week before the council and the Planning Commission.