Supervisors to hear appeal regarding Safe Parking Program for homeless

By: 
Terrance Vestal
Managing Editor

The Inyo County Board of Supervisors at its meeting today (Feb. 16) is set to hear an appeal regarding a conditional use permit that would allow Inyo Mono Advocates for Community Action to operate a Safe Parking Program at the Church of the Nazarene.
The plan calls for up to 15 vehicles to be parked in a segregated area of the church parking lot from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. with access to a bathroom. Participants would have to submit an application that is screened and approved by IMACA staff. The screening would include a Megan’s Law registration check and if the participant had been disqualified from participating in other IMACA programs. The lot would be staffed by an on-site monitor who would be required to patrol around the parking lot area at least once an hour.
The Inyo County Planning Commission approved a conditional use permit for the Nazarene Church Safe Parking Project in January of 2020, which was subsequently appealed to the county board of supervisors.
Residents and Bishop Unified School District officials expressed concerns for the safety of students who use the high school farm, which is next door to the parking lot, at various hours, including in the early morning. Others also expressed concern about the proximity of the Bishop Care Center and Northern Inyo Hospital and the potential safety of residents and patients at those facilities.
In December, the county received a letter from BUSD Superintendent Katie Kolker, voicing support for the project as long as the extra security measures are put in place.
Kolker stated that BUSD, the Church of the Nazarene and IMACA have met and collaborated several times to establish several added security features including motion-sensor lighting, motion-sensor cameras, additional fencing, an adjustment to the location where cars would be parked overnight, and a 24/7 hotline that community members can call to communicate any issues or concerns.
“Student safety is our top priority,” Kolker stated. “The motivation and rationale for implementing a project that offers space and services to persons experiencing homelessness is commendable and certainly warranted given local and state-wide increases in homelessness.”
The appeal before the supervisors is scheduled for 11 a.m.today (Feb. 16), with the meeting in open session starting at 10 a.m. Go to www.inyocounty.us and click on “Agendas & Minutes to view and participate.

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