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Burlington renews day center moratorium

November 23, 2018

BURLINGTON — Burlington’s moratorium on day centers for the homeless was renewed for an additional six months Tuesday night after the City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the extension.

The added time is necessary for Burlington to develop regulations on day centers, City Attorney Leif Johnson said.

The extension will not affect Community Action of Skagit County’s ability to move to Burlington, and the extension may be rescinded early if regulations are developed within the six-month period, he said.

The extension comes six months after the first moratorium was put in place May 24 in response to concerns about Community Action’s plan to add a hygiene center for the county’s homeless at its new Burlington site.

At the time, Mayor Steve Sexton said the purpose of the moratorium was to give the city time to study the impacts of such a day center and make appropriate zoning rules.

Over the past six months, Burlington has worked with Community Action to get the nonprofit’s plans in compliance with the city’s current zoning rules.

On Tuesday, Burlington Councilman James Stavig staunchly opposed the extension.

“Here we are six months later and we’re being told by the senior planner that very little has been done,” Stavig said. “As public figures, we say stuff and then don’t follow through and that’s concerning. We should end this moratorium.”

Johnson responded by saying the city has been reviewing similar regulations other cities have imposed.

“It’s not that no work has been done,” he said. “It’s that no decisions have been made.”

Councilman Bill Aslett voted for the extension.

“This is so there isn’t confusion,” he said. “We need to have something people can understand.”

Councilman Chris Loving also voted to renew the moratorium.

“I don’t want to continue, but I think this is the only way,” he said.

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