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City Council to consider amendments to the S2HC package on Wednesday, March 31

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Commissioners signal that temporary shelters will not be permitted in natural areas and parks.

On Wednesday, March 24, City Council discussed the themes from nearly 2,000 pieces of testimony submitted about the Shelter to Housing Continuum project and identified several amendments to consider. 

The S2HC project was initiated as part of City Council's Housing Emergency declaration in 2015 and is aimed at removing code barriers that slow down the City-County effort to open more homeless shelters. It also includes changes that expand housing choice and facilitates the production of affordable housing projects. 

The draft amendments include:

  • Prohibiting temporary shelters in natural area overlays in all zones.
  • Limiting temporary shelters in the Open Space zone to indoor mass shelters or to outdoor shelters in paved parking lots.
  • Council would retain the authority to site temporary shelters in any location during a declared emergency.
  • A directive for City bureaus to examine surplus city property for suitability for transitional shelter accommodations and affordable housing.
  • Reducing the site size standard for outdoor shelters.
  • Allowing shelters without Conditional Use up to 20 beds on institutional sites in single-dwelling zones.
  • Several staff-requested technical amendments.
  • Dropping the 17.44 element of the package related-to-right of way encroachments.
  • Further discussion of the RV/tiny-houses-on-wheels element in a future hearing.

View the full March 24, 2021 City Council session:

Next Steps

  • The Mayor’s office will be putting forth an emergency ordinance next week (March 31) that will extend the housing state of emergency for another year, through April 4, 2022.
  • Council will vote on the S2HC amendments and the emergency extension on Wednesday, March 31.
  • Testimony on the S2HC package and the amendments will remain open until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. Testimony can be submitted via the online MapApp.

The S2HC project has four elements

  1. Code changes to make it easier to site homeless shelters and associated services in various zones.
  1. A new community service use in the Zoning Code called “Outdoor Shelters.” This will allow public agencies and community-based nonprofits to open more shelters like the Kenton Woman's Village or the St Johns Village. Until now these kinds of shelters required code exemptions from City Council, one at a time. The recommended code language provides a more routine path to permit these kind facilities, based on emerging alternative shelter models around the city.
  1. Increased housing flexibility by allowing group living configurations more broadly. This means that alternative types of housing like dormitories, senior care facilities, co-housing, and single-room occupancy apartments will be easier to build. 
  1. Allowing occupancy of a recreational vehicle or a tiny house on wheels on residential property. 

The S2HC Recommended Draft contains three volumes: