Judge clears hurdle for City Gospel Mission's move to Queensgate - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Judge clears hurdle allowing City Gospel Mission to move to Queensgate


A Hamilton County judge has cleared the legal hurdles for the City Gospel Mission to move from Over-the-Rhine to Queensgate.

Judge Pat DeWine said in a ruling that the city legally changed its zoning law to allow the move. Nearby businesses and neighbors in the West End and Queensgate neighborhoods are against the homeless shelter moving into the area and believe the decision to move forward was illegal.

"Putting a homeless shelter in the middle of a manufacturing district is a mistake and it will have a negative impact on the property values in the businesses in Queensgate," said Peter Koenig, attorney representing the businesses, at a hearing in January.

Koenig says his clients are clearly upset but plan to move forward with an appeal.

"We are disappointed in the judge's ruling, we believe it is contrary to both the law and facts that were submitted," says Koenig.

"We think we have a very strong case on appeal where the standard of review will be a fresh look at the evidence."

Koenig represents Queensgate businesses, Roy Tailors Uniform Company and Phillips Supply Company who are concerned moving a homeless shelter to a manufacturing zone is unsafe.

"We do not believe that this ordinance is in the best interest of the businesses because of the probability of an increase in crime," says Koenig. "It's not a walkable neighborhood, there's no community amenities nearby that the homeless people need such as grocery stores, medical clinics."

But not every business in the area is against the idea. Across the street, Nehemiah Manufacturing and down the road, Communicating Arts Credit Union are both supportive of its new neighbors.

"Certainly there is always a concern when change is coming but City Gospel is coming to Queensgate, we welcome them and look forward to working with them," says Catherine Herring, president of the credit union.

"What's going on here is the neighbors don't like it. Finding ways to address the needs of Cincinnati's homeless is a critical thing to be done and city council got this one done right," said Tim Burke, the attorney for City Gospel Mission, at the hearing in January.

City council recently voted to approve $10 million to build, rebuild and relocate three homeless shelters, including City Gospel Mission.

City Gospel Mission is expected to double in size when it moves from Over-the-Rhine.

City Gospel released this statement - "Judge DeWine's ruling is further confirmation of what we have known since the day we discovered the Queensgate parcel — it is absolutely the right location for City Gospel Mission. As we have said all along, we are looking forward to working with our new neighbors in Queensgate and hope to establish a Good Neighbor Agreement as soon as possible. We are confident that the small number of business owners who currently oppose us soon will embrace a $9.5 million, state-of-the-art campus replacing an abandoned lot — facilities that will be used to provide hope for people who are hurting in our community."

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