Ann M. Murray, Bonita Springs
What would you call a business that was bringing 260 homeless people, many with addictions, to the center of your town to help them turn their lives around?
Good, yes. Admirable, even.
But wait. The business states it will not stand for any objections, answer questions about their methods and plans, conflicting numbers, documented problems unique to shelters or to consider any impact its shelter would have on the community.
The city has over 30 organizations serving the needs of its people. Is another one even needed?
City Council approved a short moratorium to reconcile the interests of both the shelter and local citizens and directed staff to draft a shelter operations ordinance. The business and its representatives immediately threatened the city with lawsuits if their development order is not approved or if an ordinance is proposed to regulate the shelter in any way.
All city businesses are regulated. Why should this business expect no operational regulations?
Their actions have forced the citizens of Bonita Springs into an adversarial role to prevent becoming unintended consequences of the shelter like Brookside, Shadowlawn and Airport-Pulling Road (Naples) businesses have become.
The business is St. Matthew's House, and I'd call them, at best, irresponsible — and at worst a bully.