Bob Rawlins, who lives across the street from the daycare, has lodged several complaints since the new owner, Sharman Smoot, pumped some $62,000 into the property. The center, known as Ready-Set-Grow, is located at 215 South 300 East.
Smoot recently outbid Rawlins to buy the center.
According to Bountiful Director of Planning and Economic Development Aric Jensen, Rawlins argued that many of the aspects of the daycare were unpopular with neighborhood residents. In particular, Rawlins took offense to the red sign placed on the building's front facade. The owners did not have a sign permit for which they were charged a double sign permit fee -- a common penalty.
Going door-to-door, Raw-lins gathered a 41-signature petition calling the sign both "egregious to our peaceful neighborhood" and "loud of color." Rawlins has done considerable homework on the issue, has met with Jensen and also with City Attorney Russell Mahan.
He describes his meetings as "frustrating" and "angering" and he hopes the city will fix the "problems" without "further action."
However, Jensen, said that to the best of the city's knowledge, the sign and daycare are in compliance with the applicable ordinances.
A few "gray" issues exist, such as the proper sign size. Because the place was approved for a daycare facility in 1956, the same ordinances apply to it now that applied then, including the sign ordinance. No record of the 1956 sign ordinance exists, however, and Jensen said that efforts to show what sign was on the building when it opened -- Rawlins believes he may have found one of the original signs -- would have to be obviously from 1956.
For example, Jensen said, if Rawlins supplied a photo, "I'd also have to see a '56 DeSoto in the driveway."
Jensen said he and Mahan believe the city has "struck a balance" between the old and new ordinances and the gravity due to each.
Rawlins owns apartment complexes next door to Ready-Set-Grow. These apartments, according to Jensen, also operate under grandfathered ordinances, similar to the ones Rawlins is fighting.
Smoot said he feels bad that Rawlins has taken such offense to the center.
"Actually, the neighbors say they're fine," Smoot said. "Some said he's (Rawlins) harassing them. It's probably only him."
Previous to the present owners, the Ready-Set-Grow has been known as Fun School, Sunshine Kids, Aim High and Lollipop Lane. The state has approved it for 71 children. Jensen said that the number of children approved for the center should not increase in the future.