Neighbors’ complaint stalls opening of Urban Rest Stop

According to a report by KUOW, neighbors have filed a legal complaint in response to the DPD’s approval of LIHI’s Urban Rest Stop set to open under Cheryl Crow Court in Ballard. The proposed facility, set to be located at 2014 NW 57th St, is unable to have final permits issued until the complaint has been resolved.

The complaint was filed by two residents who live nearby the proposed Urban Rest Stop at 2024 NW 57th St. According to the document, the complaint of objection has been filed as their clients “will be significantly affected by the noise, odors, increased criminal activity, inadequate parking facilities and traffic and general incompatibility of this institutional use in the neighborhood.” The complaint also alleges that the facility violates a series of conditions.

The opening of the Ballard Urban Rest Stop has been an contentious and ongoing issue since 2010 that has received a variety of responses from local residents.

According to KUOW’s report, many local business owners including Randy Brinker from Sweet Mickey’s, are concerned about the opening of the Urban Rest Stop in that particular location. Ballard Chamber President Mike Stewart also told KUOW that he has heard “nothing but negative comments from the surrounding community.”

Urban Rest Stop Program Director Ronni Gilboa disagrees with opponents and believes that there is a significant needed for this type of facility in Ballard.

“There is definitely a need here, it is important for everyone to remember that not all homeless people live in the downtown area,” says Gilboa.

Currently, two Urban Rest Stop locations are open in Seattle (downtown and in the U-District) providing the homeless population with free access to restrooms, showers and laundry facilities.

Seattle City Council recently restored $200,000 of funding per year for Seattle’s Urban Rest Stop locations with the support of many of their patrons. Eight URS patrons testified at meetings urging the city council to continue funding and 312 letters of support were received from patrons, former patrons, volunteers, staff and community members.

The patron’s comments reveal that services provided by URS are deeply valued and assist them in moving forward with their lives.

“I am 24 years of age, and I really appreciate the services that the Urban Rest Stop provides. I’ve been working hard to turn my life around and now that I’m working as a cook, I need this place to shower and do laundry,” says one URS patron.

“It is a lifeline for me,” says another patron.

“I am a disabled homeless person who has been on a 4 year waiting list for my own low income housing. Without the Urban Rest Stop I would not have access to critical basic hygiene,” says another URS patron.

Although neighbors in Ballard are concerned about the facility opening in our neighborhood, according to the KUOW report, the patrons of the downtown URS are “good neighbors.”

President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, John Scholes, lives a few blocks away from the downtown location and told KUOW that “our general perception is they’ve been good neighbors”.

At this stage it is unclear whether or not the legal complaint will prevent the Urban Rest Stop from opening. Seattle’s Hearing Examiner will deliberate on the matter on February 10. Her decision will then be appealable to the King County Superior Court.

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