Day care issue goes again

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A Carson City day care owner in danger of losing his operation permit has repaired his building, but the future of the Little Tykes Day Care on Roop Street is still up in the air.

Carson City planning commissioners in April gave Ron Gutzman one month to fix long-standing problems at the center, 2109 S. Roop St., including torn carpet, a broken fence and transferring to city water from well water.

Faced with losing the permit, an old form that stays with a facility instead of the day care operator, Gutzman said he spent about $10,000 fixing everything -- items he contends his lessee, Carrie Hensen, Little Tykes owner, should have repaired and paid for.

She disagrees, and that issue will likely end up in court, they concede.

Gutzman said he was blindsided by a planning commission review of his permit, and said he had no idea until a March planning commission meeting there were enough serious problems at the day care to warrant the censure of the city's Environmental Health Department.

"Our main emphasis was to get the thing out of jeopardy," Gutzman said. "We have disagreements on what the lease says, and those things have to be ironed out."

Hensen has been at the site since 1996, and confesses she has been unhappy with her lease since then. But, as Gutzman pointed out, she signed it every year, and Hensen confesses her mistake in signing the lease put her in her current position.

The contentious issue ended up with the planning commission when Hensen asked to move her day care next door to her home because of issues at the current site. Because it is within 500 feet of an existing day care -- operated under Gutzman's license -- city planners are recommending denial of her request.

However, Hensen hopes planning commissioners will give her permission to move, because despite the repairs to her current facility, she said she has been threatened with eviction and a three-year search has produced no other site for her business. Gutzman said there has "been no movement in that direction (eviction) at all."

Hensen also argues it is false that another day care in the neighborhood would bring too much noise and traffic. With 10,000 cars going down her section of Roop Street daily, the area can hardly be considered residential, she said. Her business won't compete with a day care next door and won't add to traffic that is already there. She also claimed to have the support of her neighbors.

"I've already proved myself," she said. "I run an upstanding business and they know we're not going to let the place go.

Hensen said she became a day care provider to give good care in a safe environment to children who needed it. She has confessed to not making the best business decisions, but said "we have nowhere else to go."

If you go:

What: Carson City Planning Commission

When: 3:30 p.m. today

Where: Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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