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Homeless shelter denied in Marietta as Atlanta closes Peachtree-Pine

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Issue of suburban homelessness coming to fore as Cobb Parkway location is opposed by neighbors

A vacant plot of land between a gas station and a one-story office.
The site for the proposed shelter on Cobb Parkway.
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As the Peachtree-Pine shelter in downtown Atlanta is winding down its long-criticized operations, MUST Ministries is exploring the option to build a new homeless shelter in Marietta.

However, according to WABE, the process came to a halt this week with the denial of a requested zoning variance after more than 200 residents voiced their concern about the shelter’s proposed location.

The site, along Cobb Parkway near Bells Ferry Road, is within 750 feet of residentially zoned areas—a distance that triggered the need for a variance.

Complaints stems from the organization’s daily lunch program, which neighbors say brings loiterers who are not interested in utilizing job training services or lodging.

The Marietta Daily Journal reports that some of those who congregate at the shelter during the day are encamped on private property and public rights-of-way in the area, leaving trash and causing problems. The concerns echo many that have persisted at Peachtree-Pine.

The proposed shelter is needed, MUST Ministries indicates, because of increased demand at their current shelter less than a mile away. The Elizabeth Inn, housed in an old church, wasn’t built to handle the growing numbers who seek help from the organization.

That being said, CEO of MUST Ike Reighard reportedly conceded that the concerns of citizens are valid, despite the fact that those causing problems represent a small minority of those they serve.

Now, the organization will work to incorporate the community’s concerns and find a new location before moving forward.