We are so grateful for the wonderful community support we have received from so many of you in Ohio City. It continues to energize us in our pursuit of a safe, welcoming space for young people seeking housing stability.
You may have seen updates in the media recently about various legal proceedings, so we wanted to share an update on our progress:
When the BZA’s February 6 decision to approve the variance was ratified on March 13, a group of neighbors filed an appeal to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to contest this approval. They also requested an emergency motion that the BZA stays its decision, holding the status quo until the Common Pleas court issues a final ruling.
On March 25, the Court of Common Pleas granted the motion to stay. As a result, this building project is on hold at the moment as our legal team continues to work on paths to final approval.
On behalf of the project partners, we are disappointed, but not discouraged, that the neighbors have taken this step despite a unanimous, favorable Board of Zoning Appeals variance ruling, as well as a strong show of support from many residents of Ohio City as demonstrated by the approval vote at the Franklin-Clinton Block Club meeting on January 26.
LMM appreciates the BZA’s favorable consideration in granting the variance, but we believe the drop-in center continues, and does not change, the charitable institutional use of our building as permitted by the city’s zoning code. Accordingly, our attorney has filed an administrative appeal challenging the BZA’s conclusion that the drop-in center required a variance.
Having devoted substantial energy and time to planning and designing the drop-in center, engaging in community outreach, working with city officials, boards and commissions, and responding to numerous questions from nearby property owners, we and our partners are moving forward with our plans to provide Cleveland’s first drop-in center for young people experiencing housing instability. This has been the longtime dream of the young people on the REACH Youth Action Board and A Place 4 Me, and we are looking forward to opening the doors together.
Congratulations are in order for this amazing team of young people, who were recognized by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) as their Advocates of the Year for their ceaseless and tenacious commitment to the work. They received the recognition among neighbors and friends at St. Paul’s Community Church last evening.
Thanks to all of you for your ongoing partnership and support. Make sure to follow @LMMCleveland on social media for the most up to date information on the center, and we will continue to share periodic updates with you via e-mail.
Maria A. Foschia
President & CEO
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry