If the March 27 Arroyo Grande City Council meeting proved anything, it’s that the people of the city feel for the plight of the homeless, but some just don’t want to have to see it on a day-to-day basis.
Council members unanimously approved a temporary-use permit for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church that would allow three homeless families and a church volunteer to park in the church parking lot over night.
The permit would allow homeless families to park safely without fear of ticketing or being asked to move by local law enforcement.
Some members of the community voiced support for the project, a model that’s found success in other cities such as Santa Barbara; the San Luis Obispo City Council is exploring similar options to address issues for overnight parking on Prado Road.
Other meeting attendees voiced concerns about the potential impact on the surrounding residential area.
Several homeowners within the St. Barnabas neighborhood raised their concerns about the proposal, which ranged from property values decreasing to increased traffic resulting from the additional three vehicles making trips to and from the church.
Other fears included poor sanitation conditions if the families refused to use the provided portable toilets, possible drug and alcohol abuse, and an inability to stem the flow of other homeless individuals using the lot once they learn of its purpose.
Those in favor of the project said they recognized the concerns of the St. Barnabas neighbors, but noted there’s a dire need within the Arroyo Grande community, especially for homeless jobseekers and the children of homeless families.
The permit is set to expire in six months. The city is scheduled to review its progress over the first three months.