Residents of the neighboring Homestead Park community have opposed the move since it was first announced in 2008, citing safety, over-concentration of services and the possibility of the shelter housing sex offenders as their key concerns.
Neighboring resident Lisa Ostrom said she doesn’t think any of the community’s concerns have been addressed.
“There are no conditions in the special-use permit to provide any neighborhood protection,” she said. “This means that the applicant has promised to do some things and we have to take it on faith that they will make good on a 50-year promise.”
Council members Matt Czajkowski and Laurin Easthom voted against the approval at Monday night’s meeting with these concerns in mind.
Czajkowski said he would have preferred to approve the move but continue discussion of the emergency cot system — which prompted an elevated level of concern from residents — during the four-to-five-year construction phase of the project.
“You have a whole group of neighbors who basically feel as though very little of what they asked for ended up in the (special-use permit),” he said. “Their voices were not really paid much heed.”
Moran said the emergency cots are a crucial part of the project.
“Not having them would be like building a hospital without an emergency room,” he said.
To promote further discussion between the shelter and its neighbors, the council stipulated that the IFC craft a Good Neighbor Plan and present it to the council before the lease is completed.
A draft of the plan includes running background checks on clients and monitoring resident behavior to prevent loitering, littering or harmful behavior. But Moran said the first step will be to listen to what all the parties involved have to say.
“We have been instructed to get this moving, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “This is a plan that we want to be able to live by and want a majority of the neighbors to live with.”
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