Planning commissioners in Waynesboro want the city to keep some control over church-based homeless shelters.
Tuesday night, the commission voted 4-2 against allowing the Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry to run the shelters by right. Therefore, churches that want to be part of the rotating shelter would have to apply each year for a conditional use permit.
The Rutherford Institute delivered a stern warning to the commission two months ago, that city zoning laws may prevent churches from exercising their constitutional rights. They pointed to the New Testament mandate for Christians to clothe and house the "least of these."
Last fall, the Waynesboro Area Refuge Ministry went to city council with plans for a rotating homeless shelter. It would run during the coldest months of the year, and spend only a week or two at each site, but strict zoning restrictions kept several willing churches from taking part.
Waynesboro City Council will have the final say, and will take up the issue next week.
Waynesboro Planning Commission Votes on Homeless Shelter PlanMore>>