Dorothy Day Hospitality House is appealing a cease and desist order from the City of Danbury. The City received that notice earlier this week.
The appeal is to the agency that decides whether or not the order was issued incorrectly or there was an error in doing that. The Zoning Board of Appeals was to acknowledge the appeal notice last night, but the meeting was canceled. Their next meeting is scheduled for the 24th. A Public hearing date on the appeal has yet to be determined.
Dorothy Day had a permit back in 1983 for temporary use on an annual basis. It was renewed for one year, and it was never renewed again. Over the summer, questions were raised about the appropriateness of the facility in a residential neighborhood, and the permit issue was uncovered.
This winter, Dorothy Day submitted a request to the Planning Commission to renew the permit from 1984, but the Planning Commission doesn't have jurisdiction to do that. The Zoning Enforcement Officer asked the operator to submit an application to be granted a special exception use for the shelter in order to come into compliance with zoning regulations. When that didn't happen, a cease and desist order was issued in an effort to bring the homeless shelter into compliance.
Danbury Planning Director Sharon Calitro says this is no different than when something like this is discovered. She says their hands were tied. The letter accompanying the cease and desist order said that the City's intent is not to close the shelter immediately, just to have them come into compliance. There is a use allowed in the zone, but there is a process for approval and the City asked that they initiate that process.