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Deadline looms for city homeless shelter solution

Public meeting to be held Thursday

POSTED February 16, 2010 9:47 p.m.
The future of homeless shelters in Turlock will be up for discussion at 6 p.m. on Thursday.
As Turlock does not currently host a year-round emergency shelter for the homeless, 2007’s Senate Bill 2 requires the city to either partner with neighboring communities to provide, build, and operate an emergency shelter by August 2011, or create a zone that allows the development of emergency shelters by right.
Turlock’s efforts to secure a regional shelter with the City of Patterson and the City of Merced have been unsuccessful thus far. With the deadline looming, Turlock must now begin to consider the creation of a zoning area where shelters would not require discretionary permits.
Thursday’s meeting will invite members of the public to provide ideas and suggestions on where shelters should be allowed, and what design standards should be imposed on shelters.
Under the zoning alternative, the City of Turlock would have to designate a zone — such as industrial or commercial — where emergency shelters are permitted by right, and do not require Conditional Use Permit or review by the Planning Commission or City Council. The City could also opt to adopt a zoning overlay, whereby a specific area of Turlock would be designated for shelters rather than a zoning type.
Turlock can set some conditions on the shelters that would be allowed by right, restricting development by size, accommodation standards, and aesthetic virtues. The process for constructing a shelter could be similar to the process recently adopted for large family daycares.
The SB2 Community Meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday at Westside Ministries, 952 Columbia St.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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