“We’ve never had a day care opposed on the avenue before,” Grutzmacher said.
Wharton said the neighbors should have been given more consideration.
“It’s a day care. They didn’t think anyone would mind. Maybe you shouldn’t assume,” Wharton said.
Wharton said she’s anticipating the worse for when the day care opens.
“If there’s a demand in the community they’re gonna open more day cares and there’s a demand,” Grutzmacher said. “There are a lot of kids in the community.”
Perillo disagreed with Grutzmacher. He said he spoke with some of the day cares on the avenue and two of the biggest day cares said they were only 75 percent full.
“Primarily I’m concerned about the traffic situation. At certain times of the day the streets have a tendency to get backed up a bit and if you add 25 new cars it’s going to get very bad around here,” Wharton said.
In addition to the parking, increased traffic on Hellerman St. and the quantity of day cares on the avenue already, the neighbors also had a problem with the hours of operation. The day care was originally to operate from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. It will now close at 7 p.m.
Residents also were concerned with the increased amount of trash that will be produced. The day care has agreed to store all trash in the basement until pickup day.
“You’re right, we’re mad cause we lost and there’s nothing we can do about it now, but I want to propose something. If someone wants to put something on the end of the block and they meet with the civic association and goes over the plan, knock on a few of the neighbors' doors and get their feelings about it before you present anything to the zoning hearing,” Perillo said. “The neighbors should have a say, that’s all I’m saying. We believe we were denied our say.”
Grutzmacher said in the future when neighbors see the orange signs on buildings they should let the association know as soon as possible.
“Sometimes that’s the only notice we get,” Grutzmacher said. "Time is of the essence. We get two weeks’ notice before a hearing and there’s a lot to do. You have to talk to the applicant and talk to neighbors and that’s hard to do in 10 days. The sooner you tell us the better chance we have to do this.”
Venzina Hicks, the owner of My Little Doves day care, said she did have some support from the community. She sent a petition around to the community and businesses for her to open another day care.
Hicks said those issues, such as the parking, would have been a problem no matter what type of business decided to open in that space.
“I agreed and applied for a parking zone for Hellerman Street in order to work with the community and I agreed to change my hours,” Hicks said. “I am trying to work with the community and do whatever I can to help them.”
Megan Paolini and Ian Romano are students reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University's Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.
This article has been clarified with the most recent number of daycares in three-block span.