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Landowner of Akron's Tent City will appeal city's decision to shut down homeless community

Posted at 4:49 PM, Jan 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-25 16:49:00-05

AKRON, Ohio — The landowner of Akron’s Tent City has filed an appeal of the city’s decision to close the homeless campground back in September.

Sage Lewis said he is fighting to continue Tent City in order to provide shelter to Akron’s homeless community, who have returned to living on the street or abandoned buildings.

Lewis also aims to minimize the impact on the surrounding community, according to his attorney.

In the appeal, Lewis and his attorneys acknowledged the issues that Tent City brought with it early in its creation, but stated that their two years of operation taught them much about how to efficiently operate a homeless community.

Unapproved outdoor fires and a lack of rules on violence, theft and drug use were some of the issues that were mentioned in the appeal that were corrected by Lewis.

Lewis and his attorneys aim to use tents as a shelter only as an “urgent and potentially lifesaving” option when other, indoor shelter is unavailable.

The tents would be used as a last resort to a homeless person in immediate need and would be a temporary solution for that individual, according to the appeal.

In the appeal, Lewis offered to take multiple steps to reduce the impact Tent City would have on the surrounding community.

The tents would be set up in a way to avoid damage to the land and would have strict requirements, including standard size and color and storage bins for belongings to reduce clutter and improve the appearance of the homeless community.

Lewis and his attorneys will present the appeal to the Akron Board of Zoning Appeals during a hearing on Jan. 30.