Recently, a court in Illinois ruled that two in-home daycare businesses did not create enough traffic to violate a use restriction prohibiting commercial activity in a subdivision. Although this case was decided by an Illinois court and is not binding on Washington courts, it demonstrates how a court in Washington might decide a similar issue.
The September 2015 case Neufairfield Homeowners Association v. Wagner concerns two separate homeowners running daycare facilities in their homes. Each homeowner was properly licensed with the city. The Neufairfield subdivision has 500 lots and only one entrance. The Neufairfield declaration restricts the lots’ use to single family dwellings, but provides an exception for home-based businesses that comply with city regulations. Additionally, the commercial activities cannot allow the public to frequent the subdivision.
The Neufairfield Homeowners Association argued that the daycare businesses resulted in frequent commercial traffic and that it had received multiple complaints from neighbors. The trial court rejected this argument and found that the daycare businesses did not violate the declaration. The court of appeals agreed, concluding that seven or eight cars entering and exiting the subdivision twice a day is not enough to create persistent commercial activity causing the public to frequent the subdivision.