By Karen Billing
Some Torrey Hills Homeowners Association members came before the Torrey Hills Community Planning Board on June 17 to request their support in getting new city regulations adopted regarding home daycares. They said they are requesting the changes as there are safety concerns surrounding the close proximity of nearly 10 daycares in the Torrey Hills community, including three within a mile of each other.
The board voted 6-3, with one abstention, to send a letter to San Diego Councilmember Sherri Lightner supporting the HOA’s proposal to develop the same regulations for city of San Diego home daycares as used by the city of Chula Vista.
Currently in San Diego, child care licenses go through the state’s home licensing service and the city’s municipal code follows state regulations. San Diego’s regulations only address the inside of the home used for the daycare, not the outside and there are no restrictions as long as the daycare providers obey all state laws. There are also no restrictions as far as distances between the facilities.
HOA representatives said that the daycares closest together are on Corte Mar de Brisa, Corte Mar de Hierba and Via Congrejo off West Ocean Air Drive. They have concerns about the daycares having pick-up and drop-off for 10 to 14 children at each home on the single entry and exit street.
San Diego County’s regulations state that daycares not be located within 500 feet of one another; Chula Vista’s regulations state that none shall be within 300 feet of each other and not within 1,200 feet on the same street.
Chula Vista’s regulations also include that homeowners within 300 feet be notified at least 10 days before the permit is considered and that there are double-wide driveways available to load and unload children.
Torrey Hills board member Mark Lee, who voted against sending the letter of support, said he couldn’t imagine that this is the first time this has happened in the city. He also said he had hoped to hear from more members of the community on the topic, as well as from operators and users of the facilities.
“I don’t know that our body here should address this issue,” Lee said. “If it’s a state issue, let the state address it at that level.”
Board member Kim Walker, who also voted against the letter, said that while the city can only address inside the home, HOAs can enforce the way things look on the outside with “Covenants, Codes & Restrictions.” She noted that changing the regulations would only help for future applicants; it will not affect problems with existing facilities.
Janie Hoover, a representative of Councilmember Lightner’s office, said the councilmember was aware of the HOA’s concerns and was waiting to gauge how the planning board felt about the issue. Torrey Hills Planning Board Chair Kathryn Burton said that the 6-3-1 vote, not a unanimous decision, will be taken into account as the issue moves forward.