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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.

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Family Resources and Child Care Center has withdrawn its application to build a controversial day care center at Excelsior and Blake—citing a traffic study and neighborhood opposition that the day care says used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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gordon sanderson July 25, 2012 at 04:55 PM
you wonder why theres no new buisiness in town
Trevor July 25, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I disagree with Ms. Sampong’s characterization of the neighborhood concerns at the July 10th Hopkins City Council meeting. I was in attendance, and am a friend/neighbor to all who spoke at the meeting. I’m frankly offended by her comments. Her opinion that the requirement of a traffic study was a ploy to kill the project is simply false. A review of the Hopkins City Council archives shows that the requirement of a traffic study in the case of a proposal such as this is not uncommon. The implication that our neighborhood didn’t want the child care center in our community, and further, that the primary reason for concern had anything to do with the center catering to immigrants, is offensive. Not one resident stated that they did not want the center in Hopkins. In fact, several voiced that it would be an asset to our community, yet questioned the viability of the proposed location. To suggest that the neighborhood concerns were unique to this request, or in any way related to the fact that the center would cater to workers of non-traditional hours, be they immigrants or not, is offensive and irresponsible. Ms. Sampong’s statement that the center is unlikely to consider an alternative Hopkins location due to the response of residents puzzles me. Would you rather build a business in a community with unconcerned and uninvolved residents? Or in one that is engaged, informed, and eager to make it a better community for all?

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