Planners give OK to Safe Harbor proposal

Oct 8, 2014

Planning commissioners listened to nearly two hours of public testimony Monday night.
Credit Aaron Selbig

The Traverse City Planning Commission has approved a controversial plan to open a homeless shelter off Eighth Street. The 5-to-3 vote came after another long round of public hearing last night.

Supporters of the Safe Harbor shelter say it’s needed to keep the city’s homeless population safe during the harsh winter months. But many local residents in the Boardman neighborhood say the shelter will lower property values and pose a danger to nearby schools.

Commissioner Tim Werner says the whole idea of the shelter is to keep the homeless off the streets.

“If your concern is that somebody who might be homeless is sleeping in the shrubberies by the school … well, if they’re at the shelter then they’re not sleeping in the shrubberies by the school,” said Werner.

The proposal now heads to the city commission.