PLAINFIELD — After three hours of public comments, the Plainfield Plan Commission disappointed many who came to the Monday night meeting when they voted to send the Family Promise Resource Center Planned Unit Development to the town council without any type of recommendation. Typically, such plans will receive either a favorable or unfavorable recommendation before being sent to the town council. Jessica Andres, Plainfield Plan Commission Vice President, explains why this decision was made.
"As you listen to the testimony in there, there's a lot of very strong emotions on both sides. Everyone acknowledges that Family Promise does good work. There's definitely a need for their services, but at the same time, the community where they're going to go into, there's safety concerns," Andres said. "We kind of have to weigh both of those sides in terms of what the right decision is and when you're looking at a plan commission decision, you need to make sure you're making a decision based on what we're trying to achieve with our comp plan and those types of zoning things we have to factor in."
The Plan Commission spent more than 10 minutes trying to come to that decision, going back and forth over motions with several long pauses before a final decisions was made.
Last week, WRTV reported on concerns some neighbors raised about Family Promise moving into the now closed Hope United Presbyterian Church. Without clear statistics, many people believe the Family Promise clientele will bring crime, drugs, and police into their neighborhood. They're also worried about property values decreasing. In our story from last Thursday, a man who lives near the current Family Promise of Hendricks County location says he's never had any concerns or worried about safety in his neighborhood.
Family Promise, at community meetings and at Monday night's plan commission meeting, presented information about the people they serve. Despite being a major concern, Family Promise says 10% of those they serve are homeless. They recounted several client stories of people falling on hard times (losing a job, having a surgery, etc) and needing their support to pay bills. They made it clear they would not be running a homeless shelter out of the former Hope United Presbyterian building. They also, at the behest of neighbors, will not keep a box of Naloxone outside of their facility. Instead, those who need the drug that reverses opioid overdoses will have to come inside to receive it.
The concessions and willingness to go before concerned community members did not satisfy those against the idea. Several statistics concerning crime and police runs in the area of Family Promise were presented at Monday night's meeting. WRTV has requested numbers from the Plainfield Police Department for calls that are associated with 238 N. Vine Street, the location of Family Promise. We will report those numbers once we receive them.
Also, those against the zoning change presented what they deemed mistakes made by Family Promise in submitting paperwork. Family Promise Executive Director Julie Randall says they will fix those errors. WRTV has asked the city if such remedies are needed.
The Plainfield Town Council will take up this matter on December 12. If they approve it, it'll go back to the Plan Commission where they will have to decide whether or not to give the planned development a green light.