The new site for City Gospel Mission in Queensgate is at the heart of a legal battle that could be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court.
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Queensgate businesses continue to fight City Gospel Mission homeless shelter move

Companies argue move from OTR illegal, unsafe

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CINCINNATI - The legal fight over moving a homeless shelter to Queensgate isn't over yet.

The Queensgate businesses opposed to moving City Gospel Mission and several other social service agencies to their industrial neighborhood have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to hear their case.

Phillips Supply Company, Roy Tailors Uniform Company, Inc., and Dalton Street Properties want the court to reverse an opinion issued in December by the Ohio First District Court of Appeals.

The businesses argue the city of Cincinnati's use of a "notwithstanding ordinance" to approve the shelter's move was unconstitutional and amounts to illegal spot zoning.

They further argue that moving City Gospel Mission and three other faith-based nonprofits to Queensgate would be dangerous for the people they serve. City Gospel Mission, the Lord's Gym, the Lord's Pantry and JobsPlus Employment Network are currently located in Over-the-Rhine.

"It's very dangerous because of all the trains, semis and heavy-duty truck traffic 24 hours a day," said Peter Koenig, a partner with Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Co. who represents the businesses.

Cincinnati City Solicitor John Curp said he doesn't think the Ohio Supreme Court will want to hear the case.

"But if they do, we're confident they'll uphold the decision of the appellate court," he said.

Koenig's clients also are fighting the project through the city's Zoning Board of Appeals. They are challenging the city's issuance of a building permit for the project, arguing that city zoning codes prohibit religious uses in a manufacturing district.

That appeal is scheduled to be heard March 21, Koenig said.

If the Ohio Supreme Court decides to hear the case, Koenig said there likely wouldn't be a decision issued until the end of this year at the earliest.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., or 3CDC, has been working with City Gospel Mission to relocate the shelter to a site on Dalton Avenue. City Gospel Mission also plans to move its offices and Exodus addiction recovery program to adjacent property on York Street. That's where the Lord's Gym, Lord's Pantry and JobsPlus would relocate, too.

Construction hasn't yet started on City Gospel Mission project. The nonprofit has been waiting to start until the legal battles end and so 3CDC can continue raising money for the project, a City Gospel Mission spokesman said.


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