City issues violation letters to St. Vincent soup kitchen

Norwich – Although a U.S. District judge ordered the city to take no action to close the St. Vincent de Paul Place soup kitchen prior to a Feb. 25 injunction hearing, city officials today sent two violation letters to St. Vincent notifying it that temporary permits have expired.

The Commission on the City Plan voted Dec. 18 to deny a special permit for St. Vincent to operate permanently in the former St. Joseph School at the corner of Cliff Street and Clairmont Avenue. St. Vincent appealed to U.S. District Court and has asked the Bridgeport court for an injunction stopping the city from closing the soup kitchen during the appeal. The injunction hearing will be held Feb. 25 and Feb. 26.

U.S. District Judge Warren Eginton on Monday ordered the city not to force St. Vincent to close prior to the hearing, but did allow the city to issue notices of violation. Eginton also said St. Vincent has the right to request an extension of the non-closure order after the Feb. 25 injunction hearing.

Today, city Zoning Enforcement Officer Tianne Curtis sent a letter to St. Vincent Executive Director Jillian Corbin notifying her that the six-month temporary zoning permit issued July 9 has expired and could not be renewed following the planning commission denial.

Also today, Director of Inspections James Troeger sent a letter informing Corbin that the six-month temporary waiver of handicapped accessibility requirements for the food pantry in two first-floor classrooms expired Jan. 12.

“As a result, the use of the two former classrooms on the first floor for food storage/pantry purposes is no longer in compliance with the requirements of the State Building Code,” Troeger wrote. “In the event appropriate actions are not taken to cease or correct the violations, the City reserves the right to initiate enforcement proceedings to achieve compliance.”

Troeger invited St. Vincent to reapply for the handicapped accessibility waiver and to request an extension of the temporary permit.

City Director of Planning and Development Peter Davis declined to comment on the two letters.

Attorney Timothy Bates representing St. Vincent said today he had not received the letters and could not yet comment.

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