Saddleback / South Beach : MISSION VIEJO : Council’s Vote Against Day-Care Home Expansion Sparks Angry Confrontation


A dispute over the proposed expansion of a neighborhood day-care home turned ugly in City Council chambers Monday, with threats of violence prompting city officials to call sheriff’s deputies.

However, confrontations between neighbors were limited to words, and most participants left before patrol units arrived at City Hall. No arrests were made.

The name-calling and finger-pointing were prompted by a 4-1 council vote to not overturn a Planning Commission decision to deny the proposed day-care expansion last month.


Carmen Altamirano had applied to increase the number of children she watches at her Woodcreek Street home from six to 12.

Despite a city study showing that traffic would not increase appreciably, the commission turned down the expansion because the center’s cul-de-sac location lacked curbside parking.

On Monday night, a council majority agreed with the commission, saying that forcing parents to back out of the center’s driveway was hazardous for the estimated 31 children in the neighborhood.

Recently elected Councilwoman Sherri M. Butterfield, who voted against the expansion as a planning commissioner before taking office, said the commission “was concerned about blind spots” when parents backed away from the day-care home.

In her last meeting as mayor, Susan Withrow sided with Altamirano, pointing to the positive traffic study.

“This is a tough call,” Withrow said. “My heart goes out a little bit more to these parents whose children need day care.”