A Daly City church has received city approval for its bid to operate day care services despite ongoing concerns from some community members about neighborhood impacts.
Several neighbors of the Korean Central Presbyterian Church have argued that the addition of a day care center would exacerbate an already-frustrating parking situation in the area. Parking and traffic have been problems in the neighborhood since the house of worship opened nearly 15 years ago, some residents noted.
Resident Norm MacKenzie said that while the church pledged to have monitors directing traffic and parking when it opened, "That lasted two weeks."
In response to the neighbors' concerns, city staff said the city intends to have increased traffic and parking enforcement in the area as the childcare center begins operating.
But some described the challenging parking situation by saying they are reluctant to leave their homes on Sundays because the parking spaces will likely be gone when they return. And the parking problems are not limited to Sundays, according to neighbor JoAnn Babcock, who claimed the church building is constantly used throughout the week, and even hosts band practice until 11 p.m. Thursdays.
Addressing the parking issue, City Manager Pat Martel said her office had sent numerous letters to the church over the years asking it to ensure that its members comply with local parking ordinances.
"Maybe some rigorous enforcement several weeks in a row might remind people of their responsibilities," Martel suggested.
Vice Mayor Carol Klatt added an amendment to the permit stating that the city would revisit the parking matter in six months, and may revoke the day care permit if it found that the church did not attempt to address its neighbors' complaints by that time. With that condition, the council voted 3-1 to approve the permit, with Councilman Sal Torres voting no.
Representatives of Korean Central Presbyterian Church could not be reached for comment.
In an interview with The San Francisco Examiner, Torres said he felt a church representative had not provided clear answers when he asked her whether the church held the right kind of day care license for the use it intended.
City staff said the application was to provide day care to children 18 months through 4 years of age, with six workers looking after 30 children.
"As a father of two children, my focus was on the applicant and whether she understood the supreme responsibility she was about to undertake," Torres said.
Asked if Daly City could be held liable if a child were injured during an activity and the church is found to have been operating without the proper license, City Attorney Rose Zimmerman said the City Council had only granted a land-use permit, which is based on the assumption that the applicant holds the appropriate license. She added that licensing enforcement is not within the city's purview, and is the responsibility of the state.