Springfield Commission Extends Homeless Shelter Moratorium

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Springfield Springfield city officials won a lengthy court battle last year to squash the Panama City Rescue Mission's plans to expand its Bethel Village Campus.

Since then they've tried to keep battles like that from happening in the future.

Tonight the commission took some action. Eight months ago Springfield city officials voted on a moratorium against any more homeless shelters within city limits.

The city would use the moratorium until a permanent ban ordinance is written. That vote may prevent any new homeless shelters setting up shop for six months.

Monday officials voted to extend the moratorium for another six months.

Springfield Mayor Ralph Hammond said, "Right now we don't have the guidelines in place somebody comes in they can pretty well do what they want really, because we don't have an avenue of saying no. And this will give us an avenue of saying what our city wants."

Some at Monday's meeting say they weren't concerned with having Bethel Village as a neighbor.

"I really didn't have an issue with it one way or the other it's quite secluded actually. But I can understand folks that live next door to it or close by that there could be some issued that come up,ā€ said Springfield Resident Larry Brown.

This new extension will expire around June. At that time the commission can come up with a final decision or they have the option to extend the moratorium a third and final time. But mayor Hammond is anticipating a decision before hand.

"Iā€™m hoping that we will have the ball field ready to play by the six month period,ā€ said Hammond.

Since the court battles that put the brakes on any expansion to Bethel Village in the city, the organization has moved to another larger location out of Springfield.