Plan to turn old Jericho hotel into homeless shelter once again paused
A plan to turn an old hotel into a homeless shelter in Jericho has been halted again -- at least temporarily.
Town of Oyster Bay officials say Nassau's Supreme Court has extended a temporary restraining order against the proposal.
The plan was for the nonprofit Community Housing Innovations to run the transitional housing for families at the former Hampton Inn site at the intersection of Brush Hollow Road and Jericho Turnpike.
They say the site will allow them to keep families together in a safe environment before moving them to more stable housing.
One major issue raised by residents and the town was zoning. The property is currently zoned for short stay, which the town says is defined by the state as no more than 30 days. But families in the shelter might have stayed for six to eight months.
"If the we were to allow them to break our zoning code it would set a legal precedent," says Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino. "We are protecting our zoning codes and in doing so we are protecting our residents."
Others say the way the project was carried out was unfair.
"We certainly don't have an issue with homeless people having shelter or even having shelter in Jericho. It really was the way that this thing was done under the radar, it appears to be an underhanded type of deal and without any input from the community, the school district, from the local politicians, from the town and without any real thoughts," says Marc Albert, of Concerned Jericho Parents.
But people on the other side of the argument think the shelter is an important project that would help families gain access to critical services.
"We know all of the good things that the support center was going to do -- child care, tutoring, budgeting workshops, life skills development, housing assistance and so much more," says Sivan Komatsu. "These families really deserve to be getting that, so it's really just heartbreaking that because of a group of people, they're not getting that."
A county spokesperson says the it will continue monitoring the case and will adhere to the state mandate that requires the Department of Social Services to assess and provide temporary housing for those who are eligible.