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The city of Albuquerque’s plan to shelter people who are homeless at the old Lovelace hospital in Southeast Albuquerque is still awaiting approval.
A hearing examiner has postponed a decision on the city’s application to use the property at 5400 Gibson SE for emergency overnight shelter so the city can finish finalizing key details.
Zoning Hearing Examiner Robert Lucero was expected to decide by Wednesday whether the city should get the “conditional use” approval it needs to use a portion of the old hospital as a shelter, known as Gateway. He held a hearing on the case last month.
But Lucero is instead resuming the hearing on Oct. 19, according to a “notification of decision” provided to the Journal Wednesday.
While Lucero wrote that the city had demonstrated its shelter plan complied with Albuquerque’s Integrated Development Ordinance, he said its case relied in part on a “draft” operations plan for the proposed Gateway Center. The city released the draft in August – addressing topics like shelter intake hours, client transportation and site security – but has yet to formalize it, which Lucero said leaves it subject to change.
“This matter should be deferred to allow (the city) the opportunity to finalize and adopt the operations plan on which rests a significant portion of the justification of the (shelter) application,” he wrote.
The city intends to formalize the operations plan before the next hearing, a spokeswoman said.
“We look forward to discussing our operations plan in more detail at the upcoming hearing, as we take all of the necessary steps to follow through on the clear mandate voters gave us in 2019 – to create a shelter for the unhoused,” Alicia Manzano, the city’s liaison for strategic partnerships, said in a statement to the Journal.