The public will have the opportunity to comment on zoning changes that would allow a special use permit for transitional housing in parts of El Dorado.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on zoning changes that would allow a special use permit for transitional housing in parts of El Dorado.

The El Dorado City Commission directed the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing, which was scheduled for their next meeting on April 25.

The information was brought to the City Commission from the Transitional Housing Task Force, which the commission had set up to address the issue of establishing a transitional home in El Dorado. More than 20 citizens were appointed to the task force, which met monthly from August to December.

“At the conclusion of those meetings, the task force came up with the definition that is in front of you tonight,” said Matt Rehder, planning and zoning coordinator.

That definition stated transitional housing was: A facility, occupied by not more than 30 residents, with staff members as needed, which provides transitional housing for the purpose of facilitating the movement of homeless individuals and families to permanent housing, and which may also include providing ancillary services such as employment counseling, vocational training, dining and food preparation, and individual or group behavioral health interventions.

Rehder said it was not much different than what was submitted to the City Commission in the first part of 2012.

One change was that is was changed from 12 residents to 30. This included a downstairs area that would have dorm-style sleeping for people who needed an overnight stay. Also the phrase “for a certain period of time” was eliminated because it was vague.

There also was a change in the proposed zoning change. Before it was a special use across the board and now it was just being proposed for R-3 multi-family residential; C-1 commercial; and O-I office institutional.

“We had several meetings,” said Commissioner Nick Badwey, who served on the task force. “There was a lot of discussion. It went back and forth and back and forth and we came up with this definition everybody seemed to agree on. I think this is what we need to take to the Planning Commission.”

Commissioner Bill Young asked where the zoning areas were that the special use permit could be requested.

Rehder said the R-3 zones have apartments, but also can have single family uses, although most of the R-3 is already taken. The C1 is on West Central from Summit going west to the 35/254 interchange. That involves larger lots, large parking lots and many access points. Downtown, anything from the 300 block of North Main to the 300 block of South Main would be excluded. OI includes the college, north half of the business park and other such uses.

Herb Llewellyn, city manager, also pointed out if approved it would still only be by special use permit and not by right.

It also was asked about who all served on the task force.

People were appointed from several entities including the Ministerial Alliance, school district, county, Homeless Initiative and more.

Rehder said in July they had about 15 attending but by December there were only six or seven.

“A core group of eight or nine were represented,” he said.

The commission voted 4-0, Mayor Tom McKibban was absent, to direct the Planning Commission to hold the hearing.

“It seems like I know to some people it seems like they are getting the run around or we’re dragging it on,” said Commissioner Shane Krause. “To other people they think we should have stopped a long time ago. I would like to get the process going and keep it moving.”