Efforts to eventually move a controversial homeless shelter out of downtown Lawrence won a partial victory Tuesday night.
Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a request by the Lawrence Community Shelter to allow homeless shelters to potentially locate in industrial areas. But commissioners also sided with neighborhood groups that said any request for a future shelter location should go through a rigorous special use permit process.
"We're still going to have to have a difficult conversation about a location," City Commissioner Boog Highberger said.
But Tuesday night's action does give the community shelter more locations to look at as possible replacements for the shelter's current site at 10th and Kentucky streets.
The city action - which still must receive approval from the Planning Commission and final approval from the City Commission - would allow a homeless shelter to locate in industrially zoned areas, as long as it receives a special use permit from city commissioners.
Shelter leaders had wanted to eliminate the need for a special use permit. Commissioners unanimously rejected that idea after hearing from members of the Brook Creek and East Lawrence neighborhood associations, who said the special use permit was critical to give the public input into a potential site.
Shelter leaders have confirmed that they are looking at an industrial site near 13th and Oregon streets in east Lawrence. But Loring Henderson, executive director of the shelter, said the shelter's board hasn't settled on that site.
"We have identified other sites of interest, too," Henderson said.