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Habitat for Humanity on hold
ReStore opened without permit
The day after its ceremonious grand opening in downtown Marysville, Habitat for Humanity was forced to close its ReStore following a decision by the city's Planning and Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday that questioned the charity's operations.
Habitat for Humanity, which moved into the old Mervyns building earlier this month, has been operating the ReStore without a permit since Jan. 9, City Services Director Dave Lamon said Friday.
On Wednesday, the board looked at the permit request and chose to postpone the charity's request until Feb. 27.
"Questions came up about the details of their proposal," Lamon said.
Issues arose after it appeared that Habitat for Humanity wanted to use the ReStore as a headquarters for home manufacturing. It seemed the charity, which uses donations to make houses for low-income families, wanted to use the building as a base for house construction, he said.
"They stated they were going to be making walls for an entire house," Lamon said.
Unhappy community members spoke out at Wednesday's meeting as well, he said.
One of the complaints was from a downtown business owner, who raised concerns about a large mobile home that sat on the property for weeks. The home is now gone, but leaving things outside the store for a long time is an issue the city has already spoken to the charity about, Lamon said.
Among the speakers was a woman who claimed that Habitat for Humanity attempted to remodel her home, but left the house half finished.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.
Habitat official unaware of permit rules
Habitat for Humanity president Bill Williamson said he didn't realize the charity wasn't supposed to be operating before its permit was approved.
He also said the organization wants to use the extra space in its new building to train people on how to build houses, not to manufacture housing parts.
And as for the mobile home that neighbors complained about, that was just an unexpected donation to the charity, he said.
"We do not store materials outside the store," Williamson said.
More than anything, Williamson said he just wants to reopen the store.
"We are trying to serve the community," he said.
— Griffin Rogers
Can’t build cheap homes
Bill Williamson, president of the Yuba-Sutter affiliate of Habitat for Humanity, said closing the ReStore will only prevent the charity from doing what it does best: Make cheap homes.
"It's hurting us toward getting new houses built," he said.
However, Habitat for Humanity hasn't built a home in more than three years, Williamson said, since the last one in December 2009.
"It's taken us awhile to get the money we need to build another one," he said. "It's hard to get money in this community."
Although donations have been down, the charity was still making money over the past three years, Williamson said.
The money has gone to purchasing land, he said. Habitat for Humanity has bought an acre in Olivehurst and land on Booth Avenue and 11th Street in Marysville.
— Griffin Rogers