Zoning officials sided Thursday with a room full of York City neighbors in ruling that a for-profit youth-counseling service should pay for the area's highly coveted parking spaces like everyone else.

JusticeWorks YouthCare plans to move its York County offices to 267-269 E. Market St. in the city, where its staff will be closer to clients' homes, the courthouse and Children and Youth Services.

Daniel Heit, the company's president and CEO, said the offices used to be located in another building on East Market Street but moved to York Township several years ago.

"We miss being in the heart of York," Heit said.

JusticeWorks requested a variance from the city's zoning code, which dictates the number of parking spaces based on square footage of the property. A zoning officer earlier determined JusticeWorks would need to lease 17 parking spaces to comply with the city's ordinance.

That's far more than needed in an office where just five full-time employees will regularly report to work, Heit's attorneys argued. Heit testified that clients are rarely brought to the administrative offices.

"We go to clients' homes and deliver services there," Heit said.

Opposition: Nearly a dozen people testified Thursday in opposition to JusticeWorks' request. They said parking is a constant battle in the neighborhood, where many people pay for street parking near their homes.

Street parking is minimal, but there are spaces in lots available to rent, Joan Burgasser said. JusticeWorks should do that rather than subject the neighborhood to more battles over street parking, she said.

The lack of available parking hurts property values, Howard Cantor said. City residents worked too hard on the new zoning law to allow any variances, he added.

"It is the written law," he said. "It should be followed."

After nearly three hours of testimony, the zoning hearing board agreed with the residents and the city's planning commission, which had recommended denial of the variance.

Hilary Maugham, program director at JusticeWorks in York County, said she believes the office will relocate to the city before the end of the year.

"We are moving forward," she said.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.