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Interfaith Sanctuary continues its battle for new shelter location, appeals P&Z conditional use permit denial

“Now that we are in this phase of it, I feel really good that we have the right team to support the rights of Interfaith Sanctuary, our guests, and our operations.”

BOISE, Idaho — Interfaith Sanctuary (IFS) is continuing its battle to make the Old Salvation Army building on State Street in Boise their new home.

On February 3rd, IFS filed an appeal following the Boise Planning and Zoning (P&Z) commissions denial of IFS's conditional use permit application.

“The brief does exactly what it’s supposed to do, explain why this conditional use permit should never have been denied,” said Executive Director at IFS, Jodi Peterson-Stigers.

Geoffrey Wardle, the land use attorney for the shelter, says now the appeal is in the hands of Boise City Council. There is no set date on when the city council will review the appeal.

“I was disappointed that the planning and zoning commission didn't take their responsibilities more seriously to evaluate what and how you permit and approve shelter homes under our code,” Wardle said. “Part of the evaluation of a conditional use permit is to evaluate whether or not there are conditions that can be adopted and imposed that mitigate the issues.”

The brief explaining the appeal was 61 pages long and explained with IFS believes the building on State Street is an ideal location to operate as a shelter.

“Interfaith Sanctuary has done what's been asked of them. We think their board has bent over backward to address the issues from a legal perspective. We are a land use law firm, we do this regularly. This is just one that we are really passionate about because there has to be somewhere to provide social services for those that do not have homes,” Wardle said.

Members of the public, who previously gave testimony at prior P&Z meetings, are able to file a response to Interfaith’s appeal, so long as it is done by February 10th.

“There is merit to his claim. There is merit to this application,” Wardle said. “There are needed social services that have to be provided. You have to have someplace to do it and the only place to do it in the city of Boise, under its current code, is in a few different commercial zones. This happens to be one of them.”

Both Wardle and Peterson-Stigers feel confident that the information submitted to Boise City Council will be seen as correct.

“Now that we are in this phase of it, I feel really good that we have the right team to support the rights of Interfaith Sanctuary, our guests, and our operations,” Peterson-Stigers said.

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