Public Hearing To Be Held On Homeless Shelter Zoning

by Gabe Bullard on September 27, 2010

Recommendations on where homeless shelters can operate in Louisville will get a public airing this week.

The Metro Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the recommendations Thursday afternoon. The recommendations come from the Homeless Shelter Task Force the commission formed after Wayside Christian Mission sought to open a shelter downtown, in the Hotel Louisville building.

The task force has suggested how to classify three types of homeless service buildings. Dawn Warrick with Planning and Design Services says so far, complaints have been minimal.

“I’ve seen one e-mail with some questions about the land use recommendations but it’s not been an onslaught of concern in my opinion. We’ve just not seen that at this point in time,” she says.

Once the council determines where shelters can be built, it will be asked to approve a method for inspecting and licensing shelters, similar to how restaurants are licensed now.

“We are working with service providers as well as those representatives of regulatory agencies such as the fire department, police department, Inspections, Permits and Licenses,” says Warrick. “We’ve had several meetings. We continue to meet with them and hone the language of a licensing ordinance.”

The recommendations from the task force would allow Wayside to operate the Hotel Louisville as a shelter.   It’s still classified as a hotel.

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{ 2 comments }

Karen Davis September 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I hope the seats are filled with people who are homeless!

Chuck Burke September 28, 2010 at 7:54 am

While I’m glad to see the city taking a stand on appropriate, 3rd party licensing and inspections, Dawn Warwick failed to mention the two biggest remaining gaps in the Homeless Shelter Task Force proposal:

1) The math used to determine how many shelter residents can stay under a single roof is extremely flawed. New York City and numerous other cities place a maximum/cap (i.e. 100) on their shelters so that neighborhoods don’t have to contend with mega-shelters. Using the Old Mercy campus as an example, the proposal as it stands today would allow 750 homeless residents under one roof. In a neighborhood of 1,000 homes, anyone that doesn’t see the problem with this isn’t thinking clearly.

2) There are no buffer zones / separation built into the rules to prevent clustering, which is exactly what we have today. The Dept. of Justice and numerous social service providers have come out for buffer zones and separation guidelines so that every social service provider doesn’t end up clumped together in one section of downtown. Sound familiar?

To see our arguments for these points, as well as numerous examples from other cities, please visit HighlandersForResponsibleGrowth.com and click on the LATEST NEWS. You’ll find our paper linked there on item 3 or 4. Alternately, you can download it directly here:

http://www.highlandersforresponsiblegrowth.com/Presentation_To_Planning_Committee.doc

Chuck Burke
President, Original Highlands Neighborhood Association

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