WESTMINSTER - Barbara Bowers, former president of the Carroll County Day-Care Home Association who led the fight against the city's $400 zoning application fee, met unexpected opposition when she sought to care for eight instead of six children.
City zoning laws require that residents must apply for a special exception hearing if they wish to watch more than six children, not counting their own, at the same time.
Two residents appeared and three neighbors of the Colonial Avenue facility submitted letters opposing the increase in the number of children, saying it would complicate parking problems on the already-crowded street.
However Bowers, who represented herself in the matter, said her neighbors did not understand the purpose of the hearing.
"They are under the impression I'm not doing day care if my request is denied," she said, adding that she already is caring for seven children, but not all at the same time. "The traffic will remain the same whether I'm approved (for the increase) or not. There are three children in one family."
Admitting that parking is tight on the street, Bowers said the problem exists only in the evenings and on weekends when all residents are home. In addition, she said, she has spoken to parents who were turning around in the neighbors' driveways.
Noting that a woman across the street will be licensed as a day-care home for six soon and generating more traffic, Bowers said she thought it was unfair that only her facility is being questioned.
She said she felt if the public is given the right to speak out, zoning hearings should take place when someone starts a day-care home, regardless of the number of children.
Zoning officials are expected to rule on the case within a month.