City Allows Homeless Shelter To Stay Open While Searching For New Location

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Homeless Shelters

Lexington’s Board of Adjustment and the Community Inn Friday worked out a four-month stay of the revocation of the Community Inn’s conditional use permit, while the city works with the Community Inn to resolve the matter.

During that time the city will work with Community Inn to find a new location that will allow the shelter to better serve the homeless and also addresses the concerns of the surrounding neighborhoods.  The facility is currently on Winchester Road.

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"We were facing a closure of this facility just as winter comes on, and that’s not right," Mayor Jim Gray said. "The Board of Adjustment made a wise decision today to hold off four months. This gives the city and the Community Inn time to work together to address the needs of our entire community. In the end, that’s the solution we all want. The Community Inn serves people who need help."

"We are pleased to work with the City to assure that the Community Inn will continue to offer warm, safe shelter for our fellow citizens who call the streets of Lexington home," said Ginny Ramsey, co-founder of the Catholic Action Center. "We look forward to a permanent solution that continues this ministry of the Emmanuel Apostolic Church."

In June the Board of Adjustment revoked the conditional use permit for the Community Inn, ruling the approved conditional use permit and existing zoning do not permit a homeless shelter on the property. The Board gave supporters of the Community Inn six months, or until December 8, 2012, to find a new location.

Neighbors living near the Community Inn told the Board that the facility had affected their quality of life. Urban County Councilmember Bill Farmer said he shares neighbors’ concerns, but said he thinks Friday’s agreement is a step toward a long-term solution. "No one wants a long fight about this in court. We want a permanent solution that includes moving the Community Inn to an appropriate location," Farmer said.

The Board Friday authorized the city to enter an agreed order to extend the conditional use permit until April 8, 2013.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.