Lincoln City Mayor-owned warming shelter facility declared “not permitted.” City Manager says “Shelter operator can appeal.”
The co-manager of a new Lincoln City homeless shelter and homeless services non-profit agency told the city council Monday evening that they’ve been busy offering food, clothing, toiletries, job referrals, identification cards, bus transportation as well as overnight accommodations during nights when the temperature is forecasted to drop below 40 degrees. The shelter is inside the old Taft Fire Station owned by Mayor Don Williams who charges the agency rent.
Warming Shelter President Patrick Alexander told the council that over the past couple of weeks they’ve operated the overnight warming shelter for 102 people and have served them nearly 300 meals.
Trouble is, the shelter is located inside a building which is not zoned for a homeless or warming shelter according to City Planning Director Richard Townsend. To apply for a zone change would take at least two months, according to Mr. Townsend, because zone changes automatically trigger public hearings that include those living nearby – residents and business owners – who have a legal right to be heard on any zone change as prescribed by state and local land use law. However, City Manager Chandler said Mr. Alexander and his group have a right to appeal the city’s decision to the City Planning Commission no later than December 16th. Mr. Chandler then offered an ‘interesting’ observation, “There may be an issue with the word used by Mr. Alexander that they were ‘open’ as a warming shelter as opposed to being ‘used’ as a warming shelter.”
And that’s where they left it.