Sunday, April 11, 2010

474. El Cerrito Childcare Center's Neighbors, 1990

Published news story by Lurene K. Helzer, November 8, 1990, The El Cerrito Journal, “EC council sets a limit on home childcare center”. Only a portion of this clipping is available.

Email Lurene in 2014 at

When reviewing all these old news items from the East Bay, I remind myself that groups of people will always find new things to argue about because it’s just what people do, day in, day out; chasing “world peace” is actually pointing to a dog chasing his tail, defining it as “progressive.” (I'm sure I've heard this joke elsewhere.)

EL CERRITO — Home childcare center owner Patricia Cooper was seething with anger after the City Council last week decided to limit the number of children she can watch in her home.

Cooper, who runs Rainbow’s End Childcare, said she would take legal action to keep the center open for 12 children, rather than only six, and complained bitterly about the “ugly neighbors” who complained to the city council about her business.

She said her neighbors didn’t consider traffic from the nearby El Cerrito Del Norte Bart station, and only complained about noise from her center even though other children live in the neighborhood. She also said a rock band frequently rehearses in the Harper Street neighborhood.

Area residents appealed an Oct. 3 Planning Commission decision granting Cooper a permit to operate the center. The council voted unanimously in favor of the residents’ appeal.

Councilmember Cathie Kosel, who said before voting that she was sympathetic to Cooper since she is a single parent herself, said a smaller childcare center was best for the neighborhood.

“This vote is in no way an indictment of your childcare facility,” said Mayor Bob Bacon. He also said the ordinance allowing operation of home childcare centers in El Cerrito was “not written broadly enough” to consider the concentration of other neighborhood facilities.

Many who complained about the center said it did not meet the street-width and backyard space requirements of the ordinance.

The center is just slightly short of the requirements, so the Planning Commission had originally passed the shortfalls off as “minor” discrepancies.

But most City Council members agreed that the center should met the minimum space requirements exactly. Councilmember Jean Siri said the discrepancy in the minimum street-width requirement should not be compromised.

Several neighbors complained about the existence of the center on 2008 Harper St. before the council meeting through letters to City Hall.

“To award the permit is to reward illegal actions,” Dr…..—end of clipping—

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