On April 23rd the City Council heard testimony in a long and contentious hearing on a property owner’s appeal of a hearing officer’s opinion granting Union Gospel Mission a conditional use permit to relocate its men’s shelter to property in the 700 to 800 blocks, a site about three blocks north of its present location on the southwest corner of Commercial and Center Streets in downtown.

Deliberations were set over until May 14th when the Council by a unanimous vote modified and approved the decision, adding six more conditions to those originally required by the hearing’s officer. Most of the new conditions were at the applicant’s request including a reduction in overnight beds and the installation of a men’s bathroom opened 24 hours a day.

The hearing will not be final until an order is signed, most likely on May 29th. A 21 day appeal period will start on the 30th. If an appeal is not filed UGM will begin raising funds for a 54,000 sq ft building with construction anticipated to commence in the fall of 2019. If an appeal is filed the process will be delayed indefinitely for the case to proceed to the Land Use Board Of Appeals and possibly the Court of Appeals.