MATTOON - The Mattoon City Planning Commission rejected plans by Mattoon Area P.A.D.S. to move its homeless shelter to a proposed new location during a lengthy meeting Tuesday night.
Those attending the nearly four-hour meeting said the public discussions were sometimes contentious, but the commission ultimately voted to recommend that the city not issue the necessary permits for P.A.D.S. to move to a site at the corner of 25th and Marshall.
The P.A.D.S. board said they needed to move, since their current location is too small for their needs. In 2014, the organization reported housing 220 people.
Some neighbors, though, worried the proposed new location would draw potentially dangerous visitors to a new site just feet from family homes and two blocks from Mattoon High School. P.A.D.S. officials said they clear all their visitors through city police, but opponents of the move worried that people the shelter turns away because of criminal status would still be drawn to the neighborhood.
The planning commission’s recommendation now goes to the City Council for final approval.