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IRVINE : City Waives Shelter Building Permit Fees

October 18, 1994|RUSS LOAR

A nonprofit organization building a shelter for battered women in the city has gotten a $21,000 head start from council members who agreed to waive construction permit fees.

Human Options, a nonprofit organization that offers counseling services and shelter to battered women and their children in Irvine and Laguna Beach, is building a $3.5-million shelter in Irvine. The organization's first Irvine shelter, it will house 40 women and their children.

Council members unanimously agreed last week to forgive fees for building, grading, landscaping and fire sprinkler permits. The city may pay for the expense through community development block grants. But city officials said they will wait until early next year to decide how to account for the loss of revenue.

Councilwoman Paula Werner expressed concern that the city lacks a policy governing the approximately $25,000 in fees that are waived each year for charitable groups. The council agreed to develop a comprehensive policy on the subject early next year.

The City Council action allows Human Options to begin construction. The location of the new shelter will be kept secret in order to guard the safety of the women who will stay there.

Human Options, a 12-year-old organization, has raised $2 million toward the cost of the new shelter so far. The land was donated by the Irvine Co.

The shelter will offer financial planning, job placement and legal services to abused women and temporary shelter from 30 to 90 days. In May, the City Council awarded a $525,000 federal grant to the organization for construction of the new shelter.

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