Roop day care can't move

Justice and mercy -- not two emotions in which community planners generally deal.

While Carson City Planning commissioners upheld city law Wednesday by denying the relocation of a Roop Street day care, they tried every way possible to wrangle a merciful solution out of a city code that tied their hands.

"I've been actively looking for a site for you," Planning Commission chairman Al Christianson told Carrie Henson, who asked to move Little Tykes Day Care from 2109 S. Roop St.

Henson's requestion was stymied by a 1993 code demanding 500 feet between day care facilities. Henson's home, where she wants to relocate her business, is next door to her current site, owned by Ron Gutzman. Planning commissioners, no matter how much they want to, cannot change city code; only the Board of Supervisors can do that, and that's where they recommended Henson plead her case.

While commissioners agreed Henson runs a good business and the move would be fine, for them to try to circumvent the law would "create a nightmare all over town," Commissioner Richard Wipfli said, by setting a precedents for multiple day cares in residential neighborhood's where they aren't welcome.

Henson continued to ask commissioners to consider "my babies" when making a decision, saying she has looked for a relocation site for years to no avail.

She and her landlord are in a dispute over repairs to the current site, and Gutzman nearly lost his day-care special use permit because of inadequate repair to the house. However, planning commissioners re-approved his permit Wednesday, an old form of the permit that stays with the business instead of the business operator, after he completed around $10,000 worth of repairs at the site, bringing the facility up to current safety standards.

Who will ultimately have to pay for the repairs may end up in court. In the meantime, Henson asked commissioners what she was supposed to do if she were evicted from her current site. They denied her request in a 6-1 vote, but encouraged her to continue to look for another location.

"I was a single mom. I sympathize with all those people who don't know where their kids are going to be. I don't like this motion. I want Carrie to know if there's anything I can do to help, including finding another house, I will," said Commissioner Gayle Farley, a Realtor.

Commissioner John Peery cast the lone no vote. He had argued the city could fix the problem by having Henson apply for a variance, and he encouraged her to pursue that option.

While most commissioners were optimistic the Board of Supervisors could fix the problem by, perhaps, changing the code, Commissioner Roger Sedway told Henson she was "swimming upstream."

"I can't see the Board of Supervisors overturning this motion, and even if they did, this has lawsuit written all over," he said. "Please find another house. That's about the only way I believe this is going to happen."


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