JCHC to receive building permit for Center for Growth and Hope

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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On Monday, December 12, the Nicholasville City Commission passed an ordinance prohibiting homeless and emergency shelters from opening in the B-1 Downtown Business Zone.

This ordinance would not have prevented the Center from opening on Main Street. Still, the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition (JCHC) had difficulty getting its local building permit from the planning and zoning department. Ultimately, this was all a result of miscommunication.

What is the Center for Growth and Hope?

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The center is a substance and social rehabilitation facility. It will support individuals experiencing substance use disorder, domestic violence, veterans, and more.

The JCHC does have an emergency shelter on 218 E Maple St., but this is separate from the new facility. The emergency shelter provides very short-term shelter. The 514 North Main St. facility is not a homeless shelter- The Director of JCHC, Johnny Templin, said it will connect folks with case management, therapy, and peer support to help people get back on their feet.

The JCHC is still taking donations to support the Center’s construction and future programming.

The miscommunication

The ordinance didn’t affect the center, as it wasn’t a shelter.

To John Reynolds, the attorney of JCHC, this ordinance passed by the commission felt “sneaky.”

I haven’t talked to one elected or appointed city member or politician that has encouraged us or thanked us for what we’re trying to do for the community,” Reynolds said.

Even so, Templin began to have issues with getting the local building permit. On Monday, December 12, the day of the commission meeting, he was told he may not be receiving a building permit from Nicholasville’s Planning and Zoning Department.

This permit was only placed on hold because of a misunderstanding of what would be offered at the Center for Growth and Hope, and its purpose.

Mayor Sutherland said he did not want a homeless shelter on Main Street.

“One of the issues was the number of people that would be housed there.” Sutherland said, “There’s a lot of coming and going from that position, many pedestrians. We thought it might be a safety issue.”

He continued to say that 80-90 people having to leave by 9 a.m. are too many.

The mayor’s understanding highlights the misunderstanding between the city and JCHC. There are curfew times for the center, but there are no rigid times when people must leave the building in the morning.

“It’s not a warming center. If they are in our program and don’t have mandated classes, they are welcome to stay there.” Templin said.

Although the building’s expected occupancy is around the high 70s, Templin said that around 34 people in the center would be in some programming that restricts their coming and going to some extent.

The mayor also called the center a “homeless shelter.”

Reynolds said that somewhere, city officials had seen the word “shelter” attached to the Center for Growth and Hope. It was either seen from misinformation on social media or news media.

Templin even admitted he could have used that terminology accidentally in the past. This led to city officials being turned off by the idea, considering there is a homeless shelter just down the street.

“We intentionally don’t want to use ‘emergency’ or ‘shelter’ for the Center of Growth and Hope,” Templin said.

The resolution

On Monday, December 19, a meeting was held between the planning and zoning department and their attorney, Bobby Gullette, Templin and Reynolds.

The city’s planning attorney, Gullette, was the one who called the meeting. “I’m grateful that he did because I had no idea that the misinformation on the city’s side was there,” Reynolds said.

“We met, and we said, this is what we’re doing, this is our intention, and [city officials] said, ‘oh, we were confused, we didn’t understand that. Now we get it. Now we’ll give you the permit.’” Reynolds said.

Gullette also posed the idea of giving the JCHC its permit. Templin received the construction permit by midday on Wednesday, Dec. 21.

Below is a statement from Tim Cross from planning and zoning; it’s a list of stipulations

“Based on assurances from the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition that its program would comply with uses, as stated below, the City has issued the requested construction permit:
1. The Coalition’s rehabilitation program, Center for Hope and Growth (CFHAG), will not serve as a homeless or emergency shelter in any capacity.
2. All homeless and/or emergency shelter activities will continue to be offered at the 218 East Maple Street address.
3. All of the admission processes for any program offered by the Center for Hope and Growth will begin at the 218 East Maple Street address.
4. Only those people who agree to their case management services, have been assessed by their medical team and are enrolled in or have completed, a rehabilitation service, provided by the CFHAG will be allowed to access the North Main Street facility.
5. All “open to the public” walk-in meal programs will be conducted at the East Maple Street facility only.”