Lawsuit renews battle against homeless shelter in Jericho

Opponents of a proposed homeless shelter in Jericho rallied Wednesday as a new legal battle tries to once again spark life into the plan.
A controversial plan by Community Housing Innovations (CHI) seeks to turn the former Hampton Inn building into a homeless shelter for 80 families. The plan has been on hold since a judge granted a preliminary injunction last September.
News 12 is told CHI has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Oyster Bay with hopes of continuing the plan to build the shelter.
"We have enough proof to see in New York City what has happened with the homeless shelters that it's not good for the community, it's not good for the people, it's not good for the schools.," says Jennifer Vartanov, of Concerned Jericho Parents.
Vartanov and other residents say CHI neglected to follow zoning laws and didn't have proper permits for the property.
CHI says, "Of the 44 homeless shelters in Nassau County, none to our knowledge has been forced to obtain local zoning approval as judges have ruled their operation is exempt from local zoning."
Opponents are demanding that Nassau County abandon plans for the placement of the shelter.
"They must feel they're above the law when it comes to the town's zoning laws, which have been in place for decades and decades and decades," says Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
A county spokesman responded by saying, "Supervisor Saladino is trying to distract from the District Attorney's criminal investigation into his administration and deputy supervisor's solicitation of political contributions from town employees."
Supporters of the proposed homeless shelter say it's an important project that'll help families in need gain access to critical services.