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Council Committee Passes Homeless Shelter Zoning Changes

A gap in zoning laws in Louisville that leaves homeless shelters partially unregulated could soon be closed.The Metro Council's Planning and Zoning Committee Tuesday approved a change in zoning laws recommended by the homeless shelter task force. The legislation defines different types of homeless shelters and gives them zoning classifications, which define where the shelters can be built. The task force was formed after Wayside Christian Mission attempted to open a shelter downtown and exposed the lack of regulation. Council committee chair Jon Ackerson says by closing the gap, the council not only addresses Wayside, but makes a larger statement."There is concern that because we don't have any current homeless shelter established procedures in Jefferson County that an argument could be made, 'Well then Jefferson County's not friendly to those indigent people who need housing,' whether it's transitional or more permanent," he says.The ordinance would allow Wayside to operate a shelter downtown. Wayside, however, is operating its property at Second and Broadway as a hotel. Another council committee will soon consider legislation that would regulate how homeless shelters could operate. Both ordinances will likely go before the full council next week.

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