IJ Arizona Chapter Helps Small Business Cut Through Red Tape

December 1, 2003

9December 2003

IJ Arizona Chapter Helps Small Business Cut Through Red Tape

By Tim Keller

The Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter (IJ-AZ) recently scored a gratifying victory for property rights and economic liberty in Chandler, Ariz. The controversy began when Teresa Bagdol applied for a use permit to provide in-home childcare, something that is required when providing care for five to ten children. Although she never planned on caring for more than four children, Teresa applied for the permit as the first step toward obtaining a state license.

Having run a commercial childcare facility, Teresa is convinced children thrive in a home environment. She searched for the perfect home to accommodate the business and when the house next door to hers came on the market, she jumped at the chance to buy it. She added a gate between the lots and the second house was transformed into her workplace during the day, and a separate addition to her original home at night.

But after conducting a site visit, City staff told the Bagdols that the second home, set up to accommodate the childcare business, was viewed by staff not as a home (a requirement if Teresa was to get the permit), but as a commercial facility. They reached this conclusion despite the fact that the new home is where all the Bagdols’ meals are cooked, where the laundry is done and where Teresa and her husband, Frank, sleep at night. (The original home is where Teresa’s teenage children sleep and where the family gathers to relax and unwind.)

The government agents recommended the Council deny the permit.

IJ-AZ intervened and publicly invited each of the City Council members to visit Teresa’s homes before the final vote. Three of the seven council members accepted the invitation and by a vote of 6-to-1 granted the permit.

Bureaucrats must learn that government does not have the power to decide when a person’s house is also their home. Hyper-technical application of City ordinances jeopardized a legitimate business and nearly sent four families scrambling to find alternative quality childcare. Creative solutions to the lack of safe, affordable childcare should be encouraged.Tim Keller is a staff attorney at the Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter.

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