by Gabe Bullard
Wayside Christian Mission may legally be able to operate a homeless shelter in downtown Louisville by the end of the summer.
The Homeless Shelter Task Force was formed to address the gap in zoning laws that neither allowed nor prohibited Wayside’s proposed shelter at 2nd and Broadway. The task force’s final recommendation would allow shelters like Wayside’s in commercial spaces like downtown, and does not set a limit for how many shelters can be in a specific area.
“There are not distance mandates,” says Assistant Director of Planning and Design Services Dawn Warrick. “That was something the task force did discuss: whether or not there should be a requirement for a certain amount of distance to be mandated between various facilities.”
Warrick says the task force does recommend the city establish a licensing standard for shelters.
“We do business licensing for all types of activities within the community at this point in time,” she says. “You operate a restaurant, you have a business licenses, you operate a taxi service you have a business license.”
The task force also suggests that shelters operating in certain zoning areas follow specific quality standards. The recommendations now go to the Planning Commission. If approved, they will be sent to the Metro Council for final approval, which could come as early as July.