Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Quaker House Expansion Could Be Controversial||
By Jonathan Friedman
September 6, 2016 -- Plans to add childcare and early education to the activities taking place at a religious facility located in a residential neighborhood on 1440 Harvard Street have sparked at least one neighbor into creative protest.
The Religious Society of Friends (also known as Quakers) will go before the Planning Commission on Wednesday seeking a modification of its conditional-use permit so that it can operate the new programs.
A limited amount of physical changes are proposed, mostly to the building's interior.
Last summer, the commission approved the group’s request to expand its daycare on the 1900 block of 22nd Street into a childcare and early education facility.
The Friends did not go through with the plan “due to site constraints and the restrictiveness of some of the regulations imposed,” according to a City staff report.
Many residents were concerned about the traffic implications the expansion would have on the residential neighborhood (“Neighbors Worry About Santa Monica Day Care Center Expansion,” June 30, 2015).
This again appears to be the concern of at least one person associated with the new targeted expansion site.
A flyer encouraging people to attend the commission meeting in opposition has been distributed in the area. It focuses on traffic and noise problems.
They flyer looks like a page from a 1950s comic book and features drawings of crying babies as well as people covering their ears.
“They must find another site better suited for this kind of noise level or our lives will be turned upside down, devaluing our properties!” the flyer states in all capital letters.
It further states, “We live in old constructed buildings with no insulation, no dual pane windows, no air condition. No escape!!!”
The identity of the person or group of people behind the flyer is not revealed on it.
City staff has recommended the commission approve the permit request, and included conditions that it says would limit impacts to the neighborhood.
The staff report says Santa Monica does not have enough childcare facilities to meet the local demand, citing a RAND study from 2014.
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