Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter Urges Chandler City Council To Approve In-Home Day Care Center

John Kramer
John Kramer · May 19, 2008

Chandler, Ariz.—The Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter yesterday urged the Chandler City Council to allow a local entrepreneur to run her in-home day care center without arbitrary government interference—and invited council members to visit the center before deciding its fate later this week.

Teresa Bagdol operates Creative Caring, a childcare facility, out of her home in Chandler. Hoping to expand from her current clientele of four children to anywhere from five to ten, Bagdol applied for the required use permit. The answer she received from the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission: no way. Why? Because the city claims that the home is not her “primary” residence.

“It is not up to the City’s staff to decide what constitutes a person’s home,” declared Tim Keller, an IJ-AZ staff attorney who sent a letter to City Council urging members to visit Bagdol’s home. “The City’s attitude reveals the perverse truth that government officials believe working is a privilege to be granted by legislative fiat, not a right protected by the Constitution.”

After months of looking for the perfect two-story home to purchase and operate a residential childcare facility, a wonderful opportunity presented itself to Bagdol and her husband, Frank. The home next door went up for sale. The two purchased the home and transformed it into a home-away-from-home for the kids in their care, and more importantly made the second house a part of their own home. There is no rational reason to deny Bagdol her right to operate a business where children can feel at home—especially considering the East Valley’s urgent need for reliable and affordable childcare.

“This is where we cook and eat our meals, where I do the laundry and ironing,” explained Bagdol, referring to the home where her business is run. “The best explanation I can offer is that this is our ‘downstairs’ while our other house serves as our ‘upstairs.’”

After the City’s Planning and Zoning Commission recommended to the City Council that it deny the Bagdols a use permit—for no other reason than the second home is not their “primary” residence—the Bagdols made a significant change in lifestyle. They moved their bedroom to their “downstairs” home. The other house, the family’s “upstairs,” is now where their two teenage children sleep at night—though they eat their meals with their parents at the other home. But even with this change the City’s staff still recommends a “no” vote.

“The City has acknowledged the receipt of our invitation. We sincerely hope they take us up on our offer to visit the Bagdols’ home before voting and deciding their fate,” Keller added. “If the Council does not approve the Bagdols’ use permit and make it clear that Teresa and Frank are free to lie their heads under either roof at night, the City faces the prospect of litigation to vindicate their economic liberty and private property rights.”