Texas Town Shuts Her Down Home Daycare After Nearby Golfers Complain the Kids Were Making to Much Noise

One woman has sued Lakewood, Texas after she was forced to close down her home-based daycare at the request of several golfers. They complained about the noises and sights in her yard that were disrupting their game.

Bianca King claims that Lakewood officials illegally denied her permission to operate her daycare company.

Erica Smith Ewing from the Institute for Justice stated that Bianca could be free-lance babysitting for her neighbours’ children. They shouldn’t be able stop her simply because she earns a living by doing this.

King was a single mom of two who came to Lakewood with the intention of setting up a daycare. According to her complaint, she received all necessary certifications and was subject to inspections under Texas state law. She can care for four children at once. The daycare she opened was in January. In addition to taking care of her children during the week, she’ll also take care two or four other nearby kids.

For the first months, Kings’ business was uncontroversial. Problem began in August 2021 with a call from Lakewood code enforcement officers, who informed her that someone had complained to her about her business. The officer informed her that she was an illegal operator of a home occupation, and she needed a permit to comply.

According to King’s lawsuit, Code Enforcement told King that obtaining a permit would be an easy, administrative process. She just needed to do a few Ts in her application. Soon after her September filing, King was informed by code enforcement that she would have to present her case at a public hearing in front of the Zoning and Planning Commission.

King’s critics had the chance to voice their disapproval at King’s conduct during the public hearing. And they did. Joe Bain (ex-lakewood mayor) complained to the November zoning committee about King’s permit applications. He said that King was visible from his nearby private golf course. He claimed that children’s noises from her yard caused disturbance as well.

“When you walk or drive by…you can see the kids out playing, which is fine, but there is a noise issue,” said Bain at the hearing.

These complaints were so convincing that King was denied her permit by the commission 4-1

She lost her appeal to Lakewood Board of Adjustments. The appeal was denied. Bain, along with several others golfers, reiterated complaints regarding the distraction and noise caused by King’s daycare. King’s application was approved. Lakewood’s Mayor, who is currently in office, spoke for her. He claimed that Lakewood’s Home Occupation Law was difficult to adhere to.

But that wasn’t enough. King’s request was rejected by the Board of Adjustment last week. The Board stated that King’s daycare company violated Lakewood’s requirements for home occupations to be “undetectable” and that no customers commute to Lakewood.

King was left with no appeal options and daily fines of $2,000 if her daycare closed, so she sued.

She argues that 19 different requirements of Lakewood’s home business law—which also bans everything from regular deliveries to keeping merchandise on site—is “is one of the most oppressive home-occupation ordinances in the state and even the country.”

She argues in her lawsuit that simply having kids play in her backyard is not enough to make daycare detectable. This is because children playing outdoors is an unregulated, normal part of suburban life.

The complaint states that the Texas Constitution protects private property as well as peaceable assembly and prohibits the closing of the business despite the fact it has a negligible effect on nearby property owners.

King wants the court reverse Lakewood’s decision to allow King to continue her daycare without interruption.

During the pandemic, millions of Americans like King started to work remotely. Local rules prohibiting people from bringing their business into the house or strictly restricting what they can pay for inside the property often lead to problems.

Remote work is causing some cities to relax their rules for small businesses. It’s taken a long time and has not been easy. However, not all cities will allow the least innocuous business activity to be allowed in residential neighborhoods.

Lakewood’s crackdown against King’s business seems to be par for the program.