The Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission met on January 12th for a public hearing related to the second application for City Walk- Urban Mission, Inc. to operate as a Transitional Residential Facility.
The permit was denied in a 3-2 vote.
City Walk is located at 1709 Mahan Drive in Tallahassee and, for the last year, has become a point of contention for residents in the area and at city meetings.
The denial of the permit means City Walk is operating out of compliance with city codes.
“It is extremely disappointing that the commission rejected the thorough and neutral ruling of a judge and continues to ignore the law and the facts,” said Senior Attorney Jordan Pratt, who is representing City Walk.
In March 2021, the Development Review Committee (DRC) denied the shelter a permit and issued fines for continuing operations. As a result, City Walk, who said the city was discriminating against religious institutions, then filed an appeal in the Circuit Court. Only, the judge sided with the city and upheld the fines.
Then in November 2021, the case went before Florida Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) G.W. Chisenhall, who ruled that the city should allow the shelter to operate with stipulations. Judge Chisenhall listed ten conditions for the shelter’s approval, for example, maintaining security including camera surveillance and no acceptance of anyone convicted of a sex-related offense.
“The purported ‘rules’ referenced by the ALJ and the proposed ‘conditions’ provide no protection from the negative effects of the shelter,” the city responded in a court document to the conditions set by Judge Chisenhall.
There were 14 public speakers during the Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday, January 12th, and all 14 business owners and residents spoke out against City Walk’s permit approval. They cited issues such as safety, individuals sleeping in the doorways of businesses, some defecating in private yards, and soliciting for money.
After an all-day meeting and hours of deliberation, the commission ultimately denied the permit.
According media reports, Assistant City Attorney Lou Norvell explained that the rules set by the ALJ are not enforceable by the city, “You got an organization that’s been operating without a permit for a year. So even if these rules worked, the city doesn’t have any way to enforce these rules,” Norvell said. “The city won’t be inspecting the facility. It didn’t have a right to enter without permission, and no government entity will be inspecting the facility.”
City Walk could challenge the decision in Leon County Circuit Court.
In a statement, City Walk officials said, “We respect all the effort put into today’s hearing by the planning commission. We will continue to serve God as He has called us,our clients, out church, and community as we have been. We invite the local powers to join us in a higher court.”
Between what RBB just commented and what Realistic just commented it looks as we may have an answer to my inquiry at the bottom.
It appears the church is pushing so hard to set up a money making enterprise like Goodwill. That may be the reason the church does not wish to help the existing Kearny Center. In a liberal run town there is money to be made off the homeless and others down on their luck. But would Jesus approve or also wonder why the church does not throw its heart and soul into helping his angels in need through the existing Kearny Center. I keep thinking of Jesus turning over the tables of the money changers that set up in the House of God. Jesus was mad at those folks.
RBB–Then use more of the tax money that they get to recruit mental health professionals and not rely on a disembodied entity to work “miracles.” A few people working in a thrift shop is not providing training or jobs. As to the drugs and alcohol, becoming involved with them was the conscious decision of the people using them. As they decided to start, they can decide to stop. Provide curative services in the current facility. Do not spread the problems to other areas. Limit ingress and egress to and from the existing facility. If rules are broken, do not permit the person back into the facility–by not abiding by the rules they demonstrate that they are not serious about getting better. If laws are broken by those not accepted back, it is a law enforcement, not a social work function. We would rather use taxes to prevent crimes than to try to cure those who choose not to be helped.
City Walk DOES provide work thought their thrift shop, as well as other support and education, but drugs, alcohol, and mental issues is the problem that needs solving. Also the total # of homeless in our community has overwhelmed the system.
Prez Obumer and Plugs Biden all made campaign promises to build low-income housing in your neighborhood by eliminate zoning codes that prevent multi-family homes in any community. Isn’t that what all you wacko-liberals wanted? Just another example indicating our local officials have no clue on how to deal with the homeless.
They ought to just permit the old, empty Fake Newsocrat building around the corner to house the homeless. It already has a long, documented history of being a roof over hundreds of poor, misguided people.
“…We will continue to serve God as He has called us, our clients, out (sic), and community as we have been. We invite the local powers to join us in a higher court.” Indeed. It would be better and appreciated by the rest of us were you to teach these people basic principles of honesty, hygiene, respect for the property of others (such as not to steal, panhandle, or urinate in public), and job skills. Religion will not cure their dilemmas. Employment opportunities at all levels abound. Don’t bemoan your “clients'” misfortune-assist them in gaining skills to make them productive and teach them how to follow societal norms. It is really that simple.
Here is what I dont understand. If the church behind City Walk has honorable intent why insist on this my way or the highway attitude? Why not instead work within the local existing framework and pour your hearts, faith, time and money into helping the Kerney Center?