Over the recent months there has a very lively discussion regarding ‘A Place for You’ transitional shelter. The discussion begun in the end of August when the group applied for a conditional use permit required to operate in the Allina Clinic building. At the time, there had been no previous public meetings regarding the shelter and minimal information was known by the community. During the August planning commission meeting, citizens expressed their concern with a shelter opening downtown. Shortly following, ‘A Place for You’ to held three information sessions. The group also met with the Lions Club, ministers from around Pine County, and will be meeting with the Chamber of Commerce next week. Additionally, A Place for You released extra information specifically outlining their intake procedures. Releasing this information was done in order to ease community concerns that individuals will be drawn from the surrounding five-county area, gather in Pine City, and become a safety concern for local residents. The info sheet can be found by clicking here.
At last night’s planning commission meeting, the group faced two obstacles in order to allow the shelter to move forward with its plans. First, the approval of an ordinance amendment was required. The amendment would allow for a community living arrangement within the designated area. Some commission members held strongly to the idea that the ordinances be upheld, arguing that a lot of time and effort had gone into creating the ordinances. Despite this, the majority of the members voted in favor of amending the ordinance, thus allowing for the discussion to continue and directly address the topic of the transitional shelter.
During the discussion surrounding the conditional use permit, several issues were addressed. In order to receive the permit, guidelines must be set in place to ensure that the shelter is respectful to its neighboring residents as well as the overall health of the city. The commission discussed multiple items, such as staffing and loitering, and then made the necessary recommendations to minimize any potential negative effects. However, the main point that the commission discussed was regularly reviewing the permit and making alterations. By requiring a frequent review, the commission could add additional conditions that would need be met by A Place For You. This review process would ensure that A Place for You maintains its position as a respectful and positive organization in Pine City-just as its founders intended.