Code Blue shelter won’t open for winter
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. » Organizers of a coldweather homeless shelter are searching for a new location because of a lawsuit that’s making its way through the courts.
Shelters of Saratoga was in the process of building a permanent Code Blue shelter at 14 Walworth St. when neighbors sued in July to stop its construction. A judge placed a restraining order on the building project and blocked the city from issuing any permits for the project.
The case is still waiting for a ruling from the judge. With a 60 days to make a decision, Shelters of Saratoga doesn’t believe there’s enough time to finish the new facility.
Shelters of Saratoga Executive Director Michael Finocchi said he’s preparing for the Code Blue program to be located elsewhere, but the facility has not been announced yet.
A gift from the Mitzen family to Shelters of
Saratoga in February enabled the agency to build a permanent Code Blue shelter. The shelter has had temporary residence at St. Peter’s Parish Center, the Salvation Army building and at the Soul Saving Station Church in downtown Saratoga Springs.
But neighbors of the proposed site sued, saying the Saratoga Springs planning board should not have issued a permit because the criteria for getting one had not been met. The lawsuit is also challenging whether the new shelter fits into the neighborhood, which is zoned residential.
The lawsuit followed a June decision by the city’s zoning board of appeals to deny an appeal by residents who opposed the shelter.
Attorney Claudia Braymer, who is representing the neighbors in this case, said they are “pleased with the legal process so far.”
“We believe that the judge is taking the petitioners’ concerns seriously, and that he is carefully considering all of the reasons that we cited about why the Code Blue shelter is not an allowed use in the proposed location,” Braymer said.
Code Blue is a walk-in, emergency homeless shelter that offers a hot meal and a warm and safe place to sleep when temperatures in the city are below 32 degrees or there is significant snowfall.