PHILADELPHIA – September 26, 2018 — Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker (9th District) issued the following response to a guest commentary from Councilwoman Cindy Bass posted by two media outlets:
“My colleague, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, wrote a guest commentary this week explaining and defending a piece of legislation she recently introduced. In this commentary, Councilwoman Bass stated that her legislation was, ‘modeled after an existing law, sponsored by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker and enacted in the 9th Council District.’
“While I appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts, the comparison is frankly inaccurate and misleading.
“Councilwoman Bass’s legislation calls for a blanket provision on her entire Council District, requiring any new daycare, whether they be home-based or commercial daycares, to go through the zoning process in order to get a variance to open and operate. Her legislation also calls for a similar blanket provision on vehicle repair shops and tire stores.
“My legislation, Bill No. 170959, which passed in December 2017, did not change who has to go through the zoning process. All it did was to require only home-based daycares in the 9th Council District to get a zoning variance, instead of a special exception, if they want more than six kids. Changing it from a special exception to a variance essentially shifts the burden from the community having to prove that there would be a detrimental impact on the neighborhood to the applicant, who now has to prove that the denial of the variance would result in an unnecessary hardship.
“I introduced this legislation because community members have consistently expressed concerns regarding home-based day cares with more than six children. Concerns include: parking, sufficient space in the property (including number of bathrooms), and lack of outdoor play space, which is not required under state law.
“I would also point out that I checked with groups like Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY) before the introduction of the bill, and they were fine with it and understood its intent and purpose.
“Most importantly, my legislation did not create a blanket provision forcing all daycares to go through the zoning process to get a variance, and it didn’t even mention auto/vehicle repair and tire shops.
“While the current discussion is not about my legislation, I wanted to emphasize the important distinction between my bill, which passed in December 2017, and my colleague’s bill.”
Councilwoman Cherelle L. Parker represents the 9th District, which includes East Mt. Airy, West Oak Lane, East Oak Lane, Lawncrest, Burholme, Olney and parts of Oxford Circle and Logan. She is Chair of Council’s Committee on Labor and Civil Service and Vice Chair of Council’s Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.