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Community

Zoning Board Denies Akron Tent City Appeal

photo of Sage Lewis
MARK URYCKI
/
WCPN
Sage Lewis addresses the zoning appeals board in Akron Monday night.

Supporters of a small tent city for the homeless on private property in Akron lost their zoning appeal Wednesday.

Land owner Sage Lewis told the Akron Board of Zoning Appeals his charity had helped some homeless reintegrate back into society but some,  he said, just cannot use the existing shelter system.

“If you’d like I can take you to people living under bridges. We can go do that right now. They are living there right now. They’re outside living there right now," Lewis said.

Speaking against the encampment was Keith Stahl, with the Akron/Summit County Continuum of Care, an agency that uses federal HUD money to house the homeless. 

Stahl told the board that legal tent cities perpetuate homelessness.

“Look at Seattle, they put a 100 tent encampment in and then they had to add another and another," he said. "So when they brought in experts to look at ‘what can we do to address this homeless issue?’ They said, 'Stop opening tent camps.’”

The zoning appeals board voted unanimously not to allow a variance for a tent encampment on the property.