Board to consider appeal of homeless shelter expansion

The Grand Junction Planning Commission will consider tonight whether the approval of an expansion of the Grand Junction Community Homeless Shelter should stand.

City planners in March approved a two-story expansion of the shelter, 2853 North Ave., which would allow it to grow from 8,630 square feet and 87 beds to 13,795 square feet and 130 beds.

But several neighboring residents and business owners have vociferously opposed the expansion, lodging complaints about transients loitering, littering, trespassing and driving customers away.

Two neighbors, Alan Sarkisian, who owns a small apartment and office complex at 2850 Belford Ave., and Sheryl Fitzgerald, who owns a strip mall at 2851 North Ave., appealed the expansion. Their appeals largely focused on concerns about inadequate parking, a lack of access for delivery vehicles, littering and the height of the addition.

In a staff report, however, city Senior Planner Senta Costello rebutted each of those objections. She wrote that the 35 proposed parking spaces exceeded the highest number of cars parked at the shelter during peak hours, that there would be adequate turning radius for delivery trucks, that thorny shrubs would be planted between the addition and the homes to the south and deter anyone from getting close to the homes’ property lines and that the proposed height of the building fell within the city’s zoning codes.

Costello also addressed concerns that the expansion could potentially lead to an increase in crime.

“The proposed expansion will tend to alleviate, rather than to increase these problems,” Costello wrote. “Presently, the space constraints require that many individuals who come to the shelter for the evening meal leave the shelter after eating, many without any destination or place to go to spend the night. The expansion will increase the number of beds at the facility and therefore fewer individuals will be loitering in the area.”

Tonight’s meeting begins at 6 at City Hall.


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