Mary, Queen of Peace considers hosting Tent City 4 for shortened stay

The parish will host a public meeting Friday at 6:30 p.m. Community reaction has so far been positive, according to church leaders.

Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic church is holding a public meeting Friday at 6:30 p.m., to gauge citizen reactions to a homeless camp interested in setting up on parish property.

The church began the city of Sammamish’s permitting process Tuesday to allow Tent City 4 on their property. However, Pastor Kevin Duggan won’t make a final decision until Saturday, after taking advisement from the Pastoral Council and community at large.

Parish Administrator Rich Shively told the Sammamish City Council on Tuesday night that opinions seemed to be in favor of hosting the encampment.

“I would guess we have nine-to-one in support,” Shively said. “A small number of people have vocalized or written their opposition.”

In addition to some critical individual correspondence, Shively said the Arbor School Montessori program had general concerns about a homeless camp nearby. The church also had exchanged voice mails with the administration of Skyline High School to determine whether the camp would generate new students, he said.

Tent City 4 is a roaming encampment sponsored by nonprofits Seattle Housing and Resources Effort and the Women’s Housing Equality and Enhancement League — SHARE/WHEEL. Incoming residents are subject to checks on arrest warrants and sex offender status, and must abide by a strict code of conduct that disallows drugs, alcohol, weapons and violence. The encampment relocates to different places of worship in outer-Seattle King County approximately every 90 days.

The length of Tent City 4’s stay in Sammamish would likely be shorter.

Duggan first reported the impending decision to the City Council at its Oct. 1 meeting.

Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici noted the city did not have permits in place that would accommodate the unique needs of the encampment.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have any particular rules related to Tent City,” Yazici said. “What we have is a temporary use permit. So if the church is to apply for a temporary use permit, it will qualify under type one application. And that is a 60-day temporary use permit.

“Part of the challenge for us is that that type of permit doesn’t require any particular public notice so we need to make sure we do inform the citizens in our community if, in fact, this is to take place.”

Councilmember Nancy Whitten said she was concerned Tent City 4 residents would end up “stranded” on the Sammamish Plateau, given the city’s relative isolation. Duggan said he had shared the same concerns with SHARE/WHEEL.

“They’ve said what is up here is workable,” he said.

The city is currently located at Redwood Family Church in Redmond, but it is scheduled to move Oct. 19.