14 Sep 2014
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Owners Withdraw Excelsior Boulevard Day Care Application

Family Resources and Child Care Center will not build the controversial center because of traffic study costs and angry neighbors.

Owners Withdraw Excelsior Boulevard Day Care Application

Clarification: An earlier version of this article referred to allegations from "planners" that a traffic study was used as a pretext to kill the project. "Planners" in that instance referred to those launching the day care project, not city planners. We regret the confusion and have changed the sentence to convey that more clearly.

 

Family Resources and Child Care Center has withdrawn its application to build a controversial day care center at Excelsior and Blake—citing a traffic study and neighborhood opposition that the day care says used the study as a pretext to kill the project.

The decision stems from in order for the extended-hours day car project to move forward. Immediately afterward, Frances Davis, who represented the company at the hearing, notified City Planner Nancy Anderson that she was withdrawing the application. The company backtracked the following day and said it still needed time to mull over the requirement.

On Monday, though, it confirmed that it was withdrawing its application, Anderson said.

“It seemed like the neighbors really did not want the day care to be there,” said Rachel Sampong, an attorney who represents the company.

The day care center—which was to be open from 6 a.m. to midnight seven days a week—was intended to meet demand from workers on unusual shifts, some of whom live in nearby Westside Village and work at companies like Supervalu. The Excelsior Boulevard property is already zoned for business, and day cares are allowed with a conditional use permit.

Sampong said the decision to withdraw was partly due to the price of the traffic study, which was expected to cost between $3,000 and $5,000. She said Family Resources and Child Care Center was already looking at $16,000 to get the building ready. A few thousand more would have been a lot for the new company to bear.

But she added that the decision was also made because it became clear neighbors in the Interlachen neighborhood didn’t want it. Residents contacted city staff early on about traffic concerns, even though the center planned to bus most of its children to the facility. At the July 10 meeting, neighbors worried further about the possibility of noise next to homes, parking, pedestrian traffic, landscaping, the hours of operation and more.

Sampong said the traffic study was just a pretext to kill a type of business the neighbors didn’t want near their homes.

Family Resources and Child Care Center hasn’t decided where it will put the facility instead, but Sampong doesn’t expect it to be in Hopkins—in part because of the way she feels residents responded.

“I’ve been in this business some time, and it was just unprecedented,” she said. “I wouldn’t recommend anybody—whether immigrants or anybody—do business in your community.”

 

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