Vancouver may scrap servicessiting rules

first_imgThe controversial Human Services Facilities Siting ordinance may soon come to an end. After nearly two years of discussion, the Vancouver City Council could move forward with repealing the rule in May.The ordinance — which was implemented in 1991 — regulates where services such as soup kitchens and day centers are allowed. But the city is now concerned about potential legal implications of the rule thanks to a recent 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that rejected the approach to siting service facilities.The city began reviewing the ordinance in July 2016. More specifically, the ruling raised concerns for city officials about the potential for discrimination based on physical abilities and familial status, both protected in the Fair Housing Act. As the population continues to grow and the demand for services grows along with it, the dispersal requirements — how close facilities are in proximity to each other — will lead to discrimination at some point in time, said Chief Assistant City Attorney Jonathan Young.“We’re going to have to make property unavailable,” Young said of the rule’s location restrictions during a council workshop Monday evening. The ordinance states services cannot be located within 1,320 feet of each other and transitional housing cannot be sited less than one mile from another similar facility. The city is running out of space to locate new services based on those distance requirements.The Planning Commission has spent the last several months discussing the issues at hand and considering what policy should replace the Human Services Facilities Siting ordinance. As it stands, the proposed approach repeals the ordinance entirely and amends existing code to allow service facilities to locate wherever a similar use is allowed.last_img

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