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Why did commission close door for childcare business?

Posted: February 12, 2014 - 6:09pm

Last Wednesday the Homer Advisory Planning  Commission set an unfortunate precedent with regards to the availability of childcare in our community. I had applied for a conditional use permit in order to build a new home for Smallpond Childcare on the undeveloped end of Noview Avenue. Four commissioners voted in favor of accepting the city planner’s recommendation to allow the permit and two voted against. These two votes were the deciding factor, however, since the planned change from requiring five yes votes to a majority vote acceptance has not yet been approved. 

I have been the owner of Smallpond for three years now and look forward to taking the next step as a business owner by investing in a permanent location.   

Childcare belongs in neighborhoods with the families they serve, not in busy downtown districts or industrial zones. That is why our city code permits facilities such as mine in urban/residential neighborhoods. Citing traffic  and noise that would exceed “health and safety standards,” the two commissioners essentially closed the doors to this possibility. 

You can’t choose your neighbors, especially if you are first to buy or build in a vacant subdivision. However, I’m certain that the majority of people in this town would prefer me as a neighbor than an angry mob (however small they may be) that feel it is within reason to marginalize children and families and try to shout down those who serve them. 

This is the community I grew up in. It’s the community I chose to move back to, to raise my family. I am a business owner, taxpayer, job creator, volunteer and mother. I am the poster child for any and all of your pro-business and pro-family agendas. How much time did we spend talking about  plastic bags last fall? 

Susannah Webster 

Owner, Smallpond Childcare 

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