Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Nov. 10 @ 3:02 p.m. / Oregon
Brookings City Council To Discusses 'Benevolent Meal Service' Rules Again
Brookings City councilors on Monday will decide whether the number of days and hours organizations are allowed to feed the hungry should change.
Planning Commissioners on Tuesday went along with a proposal to change the city’s “benevolent meal services” ordinance, allowing local organizations, including churches, offer meals from two days per week to three days per week. Staff also proposed cutting the number of hours from “no more than three hours per day to no more than two hours per day,” according to the city’s staff report.
Organizations still need a conditional use permit to provide food to the hungry and are restricted to offering those meals between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to “minimize impact on residential neighborhoods,” according to the staff report.
The change will allow organizations to provide meals every day of the week and offers more flexibility in emergency situation, staff argues.
The proposed changes comes about two years after the Brookings City Council adopted the ordinance in response to complaints of increased homelessness near St. Timothy Episcopal Church at 401 Fir Street church and Azalea Park.
St. Timothy’s pastor, Father Bernie Lindley, told the Wild Rivers Outpost that the church didn’t request the proposed changes. Lindley made that plain in an email to the city.
“We continue to maintain that the ordinance is unlawful regardless of whether it limits meal service to two days a week or three,” he wrote.
The church’s lawsuit challenging the ordinance is still making its way through the federal court system.
The Brookings City Council is also reviewing an abatement order the city sent to the church in April threatening fines of up to $720 per day for operating social service programs in a residential district.
The Brookings City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hal, 898 Elk Drive in Brookings. Agendas and a link to the meeting’s livestream can be found at www.brookings.or.us.