An exemption that would allow free temporary emergency shelters operated by nonprofits was approved by Plano City Council subject to conditions.

The zoning ordinance amendment to allow the change was approved during the Oct. 23 meeting with the conditions that a disaster be declared by the city of Plano and that council can end the temporary housing exemption if it is not necessary for a disaster.

The gist

The changes will provide an exemption in the event of a disaster declaration by the city that would suspend enforcement on operational requirements for temporary emergency shelters, which include timeframe and occupancy restrictions. Without the exemption, temporary housing is limited to 14 individuals and a maximum of 30 days.

As part of the newly adopted regulations, the services must be offered for free with nonprofit organizations also highlighted in the ordinance, per city documents. For the exemption to apply, a disaster would need to be declared by city staff.

Looking ahead

Director of Emergency Management Carrie Little said the city’s hazard mitigation plan outlines 19 potential disasters the city could face.

“What we’re trying to accomplish is not just address when we use overnight warming shelter but to address our compliance for when we might need to use temporary shelters for a variety of hazards,” Little said.