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St. John's homeless shelter request to increase beds tabled by city committee


GREEN BAY, WI (WTAQ) - Green Bay’s Plan Commission didn’t even begin discussion on a request from St. John the Evangelist homeless shelter to increase its occupancy, instead immediately moving to table the request for 60 days. 

Commission members refused to open the floor to hear from the operators, the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay. 

The shelter was cited back in December for being over capacity, but the Diocese maintains their operational plan that was approved as part of their permit, allows them to serve up to 20 overflow guests. The city attorney's office disagrees, even though the overflow plan was discussed at the August Plan Commission meeting. 

Right now, the shelter has a 64-bed conditional use permit, but are requesting to serve an additional 20 people to be in compliance with the city. 

At Monday's meeting, Mayor Jim Schmitt took to the podium and immediately began to rail against Deacon Timothy Reilly calling him disrespectful, dishonest and the most difficult person to work with since being elected Mayor. 

After the meeting, when asked about the comments, Mayor Schmitt didn’t feel they were a personal attack. 

Schmitt says he has asked Bishop David Riken to replace Deacon Reilly. 

All of members of the Plan Commission are appointed by the Mayor.  An original motion was made to table the request for 30 days until Schmitt gave a nod to increase it to 60 days. 

Ahead of the meeting, the city planning department reviewed the request and recommended approval to increase the shelter's bed capacity to 84 guests.

Deacon Reilly was surprised by what he called a, “bombshell,” and was disappointed the commission didn’t even open the floor to hear from them, instead hearing from Schmitt and other Aldermen. 

Reilly says they have already made an investment in developing a wing of the old school they occupy and are serving the overflow guests. 

Reilly says can serve up to 84 guests, and will continue to do so. 

Schmitt says the city will not issue another citation against the shelter, which is only open six months out of the year from November to April.