About 75 residents attended this week’s Planning Commission meeting to voice their opinions about the city’s first temporary shelter for homeless families, but the panel delayed a vote until the proposal can be studied further.
The planned site for Mary’s Home for Families in Transition, a 1.5-acre lot at the south end of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, has generated opposition from neighbors who fear that the shelter will lower property values and increase traffic.
“These people are not opposed to Mary’s Home, just the location,” said Lynn Rolnik, who submitted a petition signed by 450 people who do not want the shelter built there. Although she does not live near the church, Rolnik has two children attending its school.
Traffic has been a major issue since December, when the commission rejected a zone change from a low- to medium-density designation for the shelter.
Two alternatives were presented to ease congestion on streets near the church. The first, supported by the Traffic Commission, would change the traffic circulation within the church and school parking lot to limit traffic going down Marian Street. The church’s 3rd Street driveway would be closed and the Marian driveways changed to allow entering cars only. The La Habra Boulevard driveways would be restricted to right turns only.
The second alternative maintains the existing circulation and closes only the Marian driveway, but church and school traffic could still travel down Marian to use the 3rd Street entrance. This change is preferred by the church.
Other alternatives are scaling back the project’s size and building a new street through a vacant lot behind the site that would connect to Idaho Street. The lot is now used as a bicycle path.
The proposed $2.5-million Mary’s Home would be an eight-unit gated complex housing up to 32 families. Only families that have been screened and referred by local or county agencies would be admitted. The nonprofit facility will offer temporary housing for three to 24 months, plus aid in building job skills, child care and personal budgeting.