SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) – Efforts to turn a former hospital building into a hotel sparked a lot of talk about homelessness tonight.
Some who live near the former Madison Center Children’s Hospital on Niles Avenue in South Bend say about 30 people are already staying there and guests are disrupting the neighborhood.
People associated with the Sunny Italy restaurant said a man walked into the restaurant asking to use a customer’s phone to call 9-1-1, while another walked in asking for leftovers.
The restaurant was said to have started escorting older customers to the parking lot in the name of security.
“When it comes to homelessness there is no easy answer, and what is happening right now in my neighborhood is not the answer,” said nearby resident Amanda Robinson. to members of the South Bend Board of Zoning Appeals.
“There is no plan presented to us, how these people who live there, how they are controlled,” said lawyer David Francisco.
The hearing ended with the man behind the project asking for his zoning waiver application to be filed. “There are issues with people asking for money, which impacts neighborhoods. probably those people who might not even be associated with this building. But I hear concerns in the neighborhood. Okay, you want more transparency. I ask that we table it, ”said David Matthews.
Current rules require each hotel room to have its own bathroom. A waiver would allow occupancy in hospital modules where six beds share a single bath.
Controversial efforts to turn a former hospital into a hotel continue.
The South Bend Board of Zoning Appeals held a meeting Monday night to discuss the future of the old Madison Center at 701 Niles Avenue. The building was originally constructed as a children’s drug addiction hospital.
Its days as a hospital are long gone. Now the owner of a South Bend apartment building has something more residential in mind — a non-transitional hotel.
Neighbors say the building is already in use. They claim that there are around 30 people living there illegally.
The problem with the biggest hurdle to overcome to turn the building into a hotel is that of the bathrooms. The rules require you to have one bathroom per room. There are pods on certain floors of this property where there are six beds per bathroom.
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