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Jack Meeks

Ability Housing to file appeal over homeless veterans housing denial in Springfield

From Staff

Last month, the city’s planning director determined that a Springfield property could not be used for homeless veteran housing because the area’s zoning rules wouldn’t allow it.

Ability Housing will appeal Calvin Burney’s interpretation that its goal for the 139 Cottage Ave. Apartments doesn’t violate Springfield’s zoning code.

The nonprofit wants to purchase the 12-unit complex and rehabilitate it for housing homeless veterans. Ability Housing was notified in mid-March it would receive $7.3 million for that project and one other.

Springfield residents voiced concerns at an April 3 forum about having the project in their neighborhood. Many said there already were too many drug and mental health facilities in the area — the reason a zoning overlay was adopted more than a decade ago to prohibit more.

Jack Meeks, a resident and member of the Downtown Investment Authority, and his wife, JoAnn Tredennick, said they would legally pursue the issue. Burney’s March 29 letter is in response for a written interpretation from their attorney.

It’s that interpretation Ability Housing will appeal to the city’s Planning Department.

“We believe the interpretation of the use of 139 Cottage Ave. Apartments is incorrect,” said Shannon Nazworth, Ability Housing executive director, in a news release. “Cottage Avenue is currently a 12-unit apartment building and after our purchase will remain a 12-unit apartment building.”

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