Discussions continue about Interfaith Sanctuary's proposed new location

Interfaith Sanctuary
Posted at 11:45 AM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 11:44:17-05

UPDATE: On Monday, Boise Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously approved to continue the discussion about a conditional use permit for Interfaith Sanctuary’s new proposed shelter on Dec. 6.

The commission heard from Interfaith Sanctuary, local neighborhood associations, and the Boise Police Department about the project. Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said the department is taking a neutral stance on the proposed location.

“We are involved, so we can be prepared for any potential impacts to this community and that is regardless of whether the location for the shelter any future location, any changes we need to be involved in that process,” Lee said.

During the meeting, Chief Lee called on Interfaith Sanctuary to have open communication with them and the community about the development.

“Regardless of what type of housing you place, when you place that many people into a community of that level of density you are going to see impacts, the Boise Police Department understands that,” Lee said. “We want to do anything we can do regardless of where Interfaith Sanctuary may be located to minimize the impacts to the community.”

Local neighborhood associations also weigh in on the topic including the Sunset Neighbor Association (SNA), Collister Neighborhood Association (CNA), Veterans Park Neighborhood Association (VPNA)

Hillary Takahashi, president of the Collister Neighborhood Association, said that it conducted a survey in mid-March and found that 84 percent of residents voted to support CNA officially opposing the project. 13% were in favor of the project. Sunset Neighborhood Association also conducted a survey and found that some residents were opposed to the proposed location.

Jodi Peterson-Stigers, Executive Director at Interfaith Sanctuary, said the proposed homeless shelter would be able to accommodate 205 guests.

“96 of those guests being families with children. What this new building offers is 24/7 access to our building for all guests being served. We never had this ability to serve in this way in our emergency shelter where we are currently at,” Peterson-Stigers said.

Peterson-Stigers explained the new shelter would provide supportive case management services, a commercial kitchen, a dining room with indoor/outdoor seating, a separate family unit with a permanent pre-school, and a medical dorm.

The discussion also included the speakers to answer questions or concerns from the commission and if the project met the criteria under the conditional use permit.

Because of the number of people wanting to give their input on Monday, the commission unanimously voted to continue the discussion on Dec. 6, at 4:00 p.m. and will begin with a public comment.

Clickhere to watch the full meeting.

Discussions will pick up again about a conditional use permit for Interfaith Sanctuary's proposed new location.

Interfaith hopes to turn the former Salvation Army site on State Street into a new shelter but has been met with pushback. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean asked Interfaith Sanctuary to pause their application over the summer.

That announcement was welcomed by some in the area, who expressed concern with the size and adding a shelter to an area of town they say is already struggling with poverty.

In October, a development attorney representing Interfaith sent a letter to the City asking it to move forward with its conditional use permit application.

Related: Interfaith Sanctuary intends to move forward with State St. location

The city's Planning and Zoning Commission will talk about the conditional use permit during a meeting Monday at 6 p.m at City Hall. Meetings are being held in a "hybrid" format allowing for both virtual and in-person attendance.

The meeting will be streamed on the City of Boise's Public Meetings YouTube channel.