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About Bill 180751

Bill No. 18075100

Guest Commentary: My Legislation is Common Sense

A Councilwoman responds to criticism of her bill to require a hearing before opening a day care in her district

A Councilwoman responds to criticism of her bill to require a hearing before opening a day care in her district

On September 13, during the first fall Council session, I introduced Bill 180751. The bill, which modifies the zoning code for several types of businesses including daycares, was modeled after an existing law, sponsored by Councilwoman Cherelle Parker and enacted in the 9th Council District. Councilwoman Parker’s bill applies to certain residential areas, while the intent of my bill is to address both residential and commercial corridors.

I think it’s important to provide background and context for this proposal. I introduced the bill after years of meetings and feedback from constituents, business owners, community leaders and groups, and commercial corridor organizations in the 8th District. They shared concerns about the oversaturation of daycare facilities inadvertently affecting business corridors. Bill 180751 is intended to address their concerns and support vibrant and diverse economic development.

However, I have decided to hold the bill to allow more time for my constituents to review it and offer feedback.

According to a report by the Reinvestment Fund, there are more daycare spaces than children in the 8th District. Ask anyone who lives, works and walks in these communities and I think they’ll concur.

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There are misconceptions and misinformation about what the bill does and does not do. Bill 180751 DOES NOT ban the opening or expansion of daycare facilities in the 8th District. Any claim that it does is patently false. I want to repeat: Daycares can continue to open in the 8th District. Additionally, no existing daycare would be affected by this legislation.

What this bill does is create a zoning overlay that would require business owners seeking to open new daycare facilities or expand already existing centers to go through the same zoning process as is currently required of most Philadelphia businesses. This process includes applying for a zoning variance, talking with neighbors at a community meeting, and being approved by the Zoning Board of Adjustment. A zoning overlay is an accepted community development tool used in City Council and would also be applied to tire shops under this bill. The 8th District has a thriving and growing business sector and this process has not been, and will not be, a barrier to entry.

While I have already had ongoing conversations with neighborhood stakeholders, I am always open to more dialogue. I plan to continue this dialogue and assess whether any amendments should be made to the bill before moving forward.

The intent of Bill 180751 is to encourage community involvement and give every resident in the 8th District the opportunity to have a voice regarding the development and diversity of business in their neighborhoods. Anyone who is active in their neighborhood knows how important community involvement is.

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I believe community involvement strengthens neighborhoods. Strong, well-informed communities help businesses thrive. I can’t imagine a well-intentioned business owner wanting to open a childcare facility, or any other business, without getting to know and hearing from their future neighbors.

While I have already had ongoing conversations with neighborhood stakeholders, I am always open to more dialogue. I plan to continue this dialogue and assess whether any amendments should be made to the bill before moving forward.

I believe Bill 180751 is common sense legislation that advances my goal as 8th District Councilperson to improve quality of life for residents and businesses in my district.

Cindy Bass is a Philadelphia City Council member in her second term, representing the 8th District in Northwest Philly.

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