Preschool battle heads to Planning Commission


This triplex at Mattos Drive and Fremont Boulevard in Centerville is be at the heart of what’s shaping up to be a not horribly boring Planning Commission meeting Thursday. The new owner wants to turn the building into a Montessori preschool with up to 65 students.

The city thinks that’s fine, but some Centerville … oops … Glenmoor Gardens residents say the school will have too many kids and not enough parking. And they already have to deal with pickups and drop-offs at nearby Centerville Middle School and Washington High School.

What makes this slightly interesting is the players on opposing sides. Representing the applicant is former Councilman Dominic Dutra. Representing the Glenmoor Gardens neighbors is Jack Rogers, the former high-ranking Fremont official, who is a part-owner of the Besaro Mobile Home Park and the former campaign chairman for Sue Chan, who Dominic Dutra supported.

Matt Artz


  1. Another interesting point, that punctuates the notion that “insiders” and developers get what they want, is the fact that many small preschool owners trying to get the City to approve their operations consistently have roadblocks thrown in front of them. As soon as they clear one hurdle, the city planning dept. sets out another one. Always the justification is that “there are rules for childcare facilities and because they deal with children, we cannot make exceptions.”

    For example, the rules set forth how many parking spaces you need and planning cannot make any exceptions and the size of the yard is dictated by the number of children and, again, they cannot make exceptions. 6 parking spaces for 60+ students is way below the parking requirements for such a facility and the size of the play yard is way below the size for the number of children they are planning. And yet, these rules, among others, can be bent for these people since Mr. Dutra is involved.

    When you have a well-known developer supporting one of these big projects, is it a surprise that all sorts of exceptions are made for them?

  2. People typically come into drop their kids and pick them off. So I dont think parking spots are a big issue for a day care.

  3. I think 6 spaces for 60 kids would be an issue, for a triplex, it sounds like the right number. Do in-home day-care providers in a single family home normally watch 20 kids at a time? This sounds like it is basicly 3 homes to be converted over.

    There are other businesses in the Glenmoor area, they have a parking lot in the back… which would take out the play-ground of course.

  4. I find that most on the opposing side are those that are much older, without young children and don’t need to hold 2 jobs to support a family and worry about good facilities to enroll their children. It’s a preschool for crying out loud, not a liquor store! Perhaps there are Glenmoor residents that would like to see this facility within walking distance of their homes!

  5. Unfortunately, the CA boomer population wants steady year over year appreciation in their property values, but are adamantly opposed to these minor “inconveniences”, which are in fact necessities to most families in the bay area.

    My money is on these fossils being so detached that they think the families who use daycare are low income, and thus they don’t want to let the riffraff in. They enjoyed a time when you could buy a Glenmoor home for 3-4x an engineers salary, the CA tax rate was 5% and everybody was paying their fair share of property taxes.

    Juxtapose this to today, where two incomes are required for such a home, we’re taxed at 9.5% and young families are paying 10x more in property taxes than their elder neighbors.

  6. YGF: I hear you… not familiar enough with that exact location… What is the parking like on Mattos now without the preschool?

    Thinking back to our preschool at Carol and Grimmer, it was in a residential area and had little on-site parking, but backed up to the Irvington game fields so we could park on-street without too much issue. I’m sure we had some impact on the neighbors, but I don’t recall any unpleasantness.

    If the school owners think they’ll get a lot of walk-in students, they should definitely make that a point. Did the Commision make a decision last night?

  7. Bruce, see “At least Fremont isn’t trying to get exhibition baseball” and open full post. At the very end Matt states what sounds like a vote was taken.

  8. There is another preschool being built at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Roberts Ave. (near the Safeway). Even if they have worked out the parking situation, the AM traffic congestion it will cause is going to make that section of road even worse than it already is… and it’s bad now.

  9. They voted against the permit (see Matt’s latest post), however we all know the appeal could result in a different outcome. I have a young child in preschool and know of many families that have moved into Glenmoor under 40 with small children like us (over the last several years), it would have served the developer well to reach out and find some families like ours in support of this project. The challenge is, we are all working hard during the day to live in such a fantastic neighborhood, that we simply have little time to organize like the retired community. This shall be interesting one to follow.

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