At the June 14th Great Falls Planning Advisory Board/Zoning Commission members voted unanimously to recommend the denial of a conditional use permit submitted by the First United Methodist Church to operate an outdoor emergency homeless shelter on their property in downtown Great Falls.
At the meeting several local owners and managers representing downtown businesses in the FUMC neighborhood provided public comment on the impact of the ‘encampment’ on their businesses.
E-City Beat will be publishing some of their comments and thoughts, directly quoted, continuing today with Darrell Becker, owner of Perkins restaurant and the Midtown Motel. The entirety of Mr. Becker’s public comments can seen here, his remarks start at 00:36:20 of the video.
“My name is Darrell Becker, my wife and I own the Perkins and Midtown restaurant, or Midtown motel, across the street (editors note: ‘across the street’ from the encampment at First United Methodist Church) and you’re absolutely right our Sunday morning you look out our windows and we have a little old lady who’s there for her breakfast and that’s her day out and she gets to watch the lady drop her pants and defecate into the street.
We have found more needles within a block of this homeless, excuse me, your houseless encampment, and let’s face it they’re not all diabetics, I’m not stupid.
You know when you walk down the street and you see the orange tabs every 2 feet and that was not like that last year that was not like that anywhere close to it two years ago.“
“…he (Pastor Wakely) has allowed this, he has not only had them, not him personally, making them come into our building, we have to watch our front door 24 hours a day because they come in they want to sleep in our hallway they want to go use our restrooms which we used to allow, we can’t allow it now.
It is a safety issue – you don’t know what these people are going to do, and I don’t mean any disrespect by referring to anybody as ‘these people’, I don’t know their names, it’s the people from across the street at his houseless encampment.
And I’ve tried to talk to the pastor. I’m sorry, I don’t see where what he is doing is helping in fact I don’t even I don’t know what he’s truly trying to accomplish except to make himself feel better I believe.”