Mark Peters of ABetterSite.org writes:
Town Council will discuss homeless shelter regulations again tonight after last month’s requests for additional information.
Planning department staff has provided detailed information from the American Planning Association to address Council questions, and staff has also addressed the timing conflict the proposed shelter guidelines present if passed the week prior to the Interfaith Council’s application to relocate Community House men’s shelter.
If the shelter guidelines are passed tonight, this could indicate the town is clearing the decks for quick approval of the IFC’s men’s shelter application. This application has long been rumored as a “done deal,” and this meeting could be the beginning of this done deal.
The planning director and town manager both recommend that the town should not approve shelter regulations and consider the IFC SUP at the same time. Supporters of a better site for the new men’s homeless shelter agree.
The town manager recommended two choices: 1) Defer a decision on the guidelines until after the currently pending SUP process is completed, or 2) Complete the review and adoption of the shelter guidelines and defer action on the SUP until the guidelines are available (or are rejected).
ABetterSite.org recommends option 2. The site for the publicly funded IFC project was chosen behind closed doors with no public shelter siting guidelines, no publicly vetted site selection criteria and no public selection process.
Approval for requested and committed taxpayer funding may increase for this project by $500,000 on April 25, the same day the shelter SUP application could be approved. Approval could bring the total to $2.3 million in likely funding for the shelter relocation. At this rate of taxpayer contributions, the facility may be 100 percent taxpayer funded in a little more than four years.
Below we have provided videos to address each of the Council Members questions. You can read the full recommendations by Planning Dept Staff in this link, http://chapelhillpublic.novusagenda.com/AttachmentViewer.aspx?AttachmentID=6538&ItemID=186.
• In this video, Council Member Greene wonders if other towns with specific shelter siting ordinance go through an SUP process for approval. APA research shows the majority of towns that have ordinance also have an SUP approval process.
• In this video, Council Member Gene Pease asked how the quarter-mile distance was created. We provide audio from that meeting.
Here are useful links from the Jan. 19 hearing:
• We gave this presentation, outlining issues with the shelter guidelines.
• We provided this markup of the proposed shelter guidelines to point out important issues.
• The town published this video of the meeting.
See ABetterSite.org’s shelter guidelines page for up-to-date information. The town has posted materials for the March 14 meeting on its website, including the shelter guidelines topic.
— Mark Peters, ABetterSite.org