Hyde Park zoning officials have approved a homeless shelter in the village, after coming under scrutiny for how long it was taking to reach a decision and facing questions over the transparency of the process.
The board issued its written decision Wednesday evening, after more than a month in deliberative session. All three board members voted in favor. There is still a 30-day window to appeal the project to the state environmental court, so the yellow house located at 103 Main Street won’t be able to be used until Jan. 18 at the earliest.
In the interim, Lamoille County businessman Howard Manosh will continue to operate a temporary shelter out of his Plaza Hotel in Morrisville. Manosh and the organization that operates the shelter, Lamoille Community House, reached an agreement with the Morrisville town officials Monday.
Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux said Friday morning that he was grateful for the decision, after expressing frustration that the zoning permit he applied for in late September hadn’t been acted on, even as temperatures sank below zero on many nights in recent weeks.
“I like and understand the people on the board. They have other jobs,” Marcoux said. “I just think it was an especially difficult time because of the cold.”
The sheriff’s department owns the building, and Marcoux opened it up midway through last winter in order to take the load off the trio of Lamoille County churches that had opened pop-up shelters in Stowe, Hyde Park and Johnson, and to provide a more stable, centralized place.
He applied for a zoning permit to operate the place, with an organization called Lamoille Community House taking over operations.
He applied for the permit in late September, and the review board didn’t meet to go over the application until Nov. 15. The board had been in deliberative session between then and Wednesday night, when it gave its official approval.
The Lamoille Community House and Homeless Coalition has organized a candlelight vigil in support of the shelter efforts for Friday at 4 p.m. on Main Street in Hyde Park. According to the vigil’s invitation, “you just need a candle and awareness.”