2 court challenges ask judge to overrule Boise’s approval of Interfaith shelter

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Jul 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-13 18:42:38-04

This article was originally published by Autum Robertson in BoiseDev.

Neighbors of the Interfaith Sanctuary’s future State St. location are moving ahead in their fight against the project.

The Veterans Park Neighborhood Association officially filed its court case to appeal the conditional use permit for the shelter Boise City Council approved earlier this year. The petition for judicial review said the neighborhood association is concerned about “substantial harm to their real property interests.”

The court document lists examples of neighbors who believe the shelter could cause harm to their property, including someone who owns property adjacent to where the shelter would go up, Burger N’ Brews, which is across the street, and Corona Village, which operates on the property adjoining the site.

The request for judicial review is a filing asking a judge to review Boise City Council’s approval of Interfaith’s application. That vote overturned the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission’s denial of the project in January.

Attorney Brian Ertz wrote that the neighbors are looking for the court to reverse the council’s approval of the shelter, to uphold the planning and zoning commission’s denial of the project, to declare the council’s actions “unlawful,” and grant relief from attorney fees, and future relief that the court could “deem appropriate.”

A second court case was filed to appeal the permit for the shelter. Attorney Scott Rose writes in the document that the neighbor is living in the area that will be impacted by the shelter and believes their property would be “adversely affected and/or harmed” by the city’s vote to approve the project. The document also cites that the neighbor is “extremely concerned” for the safety of Interfaith residents, and others passing by or living near the future shelter.

Interfaith ready to meet legal challenge

“I was made aware of the filing by our lawyers, who will continue supporting us as we learn more about this process.” Executive Director Jodi Peterson-Stigers told BoiseDev.

The project received a good deal of criticism from neighbors when it was first proposed in January 2021. Interfaith Sanctuary argues their shelter design with a day shelter and more space for guests will help lessen any impacts to the community and their move to State Street is necessary to meet the growing needs of Boise’s homeless community. The nonprofit, who sold their building and purchased the warehouse before they earned approval, says if this project is not approved their shelter will close.

The shelter was first denied by the commission back in January 2022. There was then an appeal letter sent to the council from the Interfaith and after several deferrals, the council approved the project in late April.

Eventually, the issue could come up for a hearing set in the Fourth District Court.