Planning commission approves 50-year permit for homeless shelter
Written by DK McDONALD and printed in The Daily News on Jul 3, 2018
 
BULLHEAD CITY — Planning and Zoning Commissioners made short work of unanimously approving a 50-year conditional use permit allowing Housing for Hope, Inc., the physical property arm of Catholic Charities, to build and operate a homeless shelter/multi-service center on North Oatman Road.
 
“It’s a major project to address a major need in our community,” said local attorney Dan Oehler, speaking on behalf of the service organizations. “I believe it will be an outstanding facility.”
 
The more than 10,500-square-foot $2 million building will house a family shelter, men and women’s shelter, veterans beds, outreach center, commercial kitchen and program offices, with the potential to expand through an additional 5,000-square-foot building. BHHS Legacy Foundation made a $1 million matching grant to the project.The potential expansion was made possible by the donation of a second lot by Mohave State Bank, Oehler said.
 
“The initial property was purchased for $50,000 less than one year ago, expressly for this purpose,” Oehler said. “The second lot, Lot 91, was 100 percent donated by Mohave State Bank, allowing for the possible eventual expansion of the campus.”
 
Housing for Hope is considering how the plans more fully could accommodate beds for veterans, Oehler said. Bullhead City building code and the city fire marshal will determine the maximum number of beds in the facility.
 
The building as conceptualized will provide 40 to 44 beds, a full-service commercial kitchen, on-site counseling and services, Oehler said. The purpose is to care for those homeless individuals and families currently in the area and throughout the future with the mission of getting people into their own housing as quickly as possible.
 
“I believe the 40 or 44 beds will probably be filled several months before the building is ready for occupancy,” Oehler said.
Assuming no permitting delays, construction could begin in the middle to late fall this year and the shelter could be in operation in the first quarter of 2019.
 
Commissioners questioned Oehler on the allowed length of stay, the need for a commercial kitchen, residency requirements and the unusual length of the conditional use permit — 50 years.
 
The intention of the commercial kitchen is not to compete with Praise Chapel or other organizations that provide for the hungry, Oehler said. City code and the conditional use permit require a full commercial kitchen be used for the residents of the facility. Commercial funding requirements, in addition to the expected useful lifetime of the facility, resulted in the 50-year conditional use permit.
Commissioner Norma Brummett also questioned staff on the unusual 50-year term.
 
There was no city objection to the 50-year term, said Johnny Loera, Bullhead City planner. There are required triggering mechanisms within the permit that would bring the agencies back to the Planning and Zoning Commission, including Housing for Hope requesting phase two expansion, moving or changing the operational entity and violation of any of the stipulations in place on the original conditional use permit.
No members of the public addressed the commission during the public hearing on the permit application.
 
“There’s nothing similar to it in the Bullhead City area,” Oehler said. “Folks who for whatever reason find themselves in Bullhead City needing help will receive it.