Fairfax City approves stricter zoning laws
The Fairfax City Council Tuesday passed changes to its zoning code that will require social service providers in the city to apply for a special use permit when moving into new quarters.
City officials had said that the stricter zoning regulations were similar to those in other jurisdictions and were needed so that nearby businesses and neighbors could weigh in if a social service provider -- such as a homeless shelter or drug clinic -- moved in next door.
"The community...has a right to provide its input," said council member Daniel F. Drummond.
Supporters of the Lamb Center -- a daily drop-in center for the homeless located just off busy Fairfax Circle -- had vigorously opposed the measure, saying the new regulations will make it tougher for them to move to a new building. The center -- with provides job counseling, showers and hot meals for more than 100 homeless men and women daily -- has long outgrown its 3000-square-foot space. They had long been at odds with the city and some neighboring businesses who were concerned about continued incidents of loitering, public drunkenness and other crimes around the center.
"It wasn't the result we had hoped for," said David Larrabee, the center's director. "But there are many things in life that don't happen the way we want them to. We're going to continue working with the city and county to try and find a new location for the Lamb Center. We're cramped in this place."
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