SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — After Lighthouse Ministries Food Pantry in San Jose nearly ceased operation for having to pay the city thousands of dollars for a special use permit, city leaders announced Monday a proposal to help community food distributors.
A proposal put forward by Mayor Sam Liccardo and Council Member Raul Peralez would waive special use permit fees or identify funding to cover the costs of community food distributors like Lighthouse Ministries during the pandemic.
Weeks before the lighthouse is notified by the city, it would have to pay a permit fee of up to $15,000 or cease operations on February 14.
“San José must continue to uplift those in our community who continue to do essential work during the pandemic,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo.
“I am deeply grateful for the work Pastor Olmos and Lighthouse Ministries are doing to feed our most vulnerable neighbors and families.”
The city said a complaint filed with the city in January cited traffic and pedestrian impacts to the lighthouse site and surrounding neighborhoods, resulting in a temporary closure of the site and community distribution events.
According to a press release, the proposal comes with a commitment from Lighthouse Ministries to continue to work with the city and their neighbors to resolve any issues.
“We want to first thank the City of San Jose for recognizing the Lighthouse Distribution Center and waiving our permit fees so we can continue to provide food to our community. Our partnership with the city is very important to us here at Lighthouse,” said Pastor Ralph Olmos. Lighthouse distribution center.
“We are committed to people and our compassion is felt wherever a lighthouse is. Thank you, Mayor and the City of San Jose for entrusting us with this responsibility,” Olmos added.
“We look forward to building a relationship that will end hunger in our city.”
Additionally, the city said the suspension of land use regulations surrounding food distribution sites would continue until the local state of emergency expires or by a vote of the city council.
The city’s Rules Committee will hear Mayor Liccardo and Councilman Peralez’s proposal at the Rules and Open Government Committee meeting on February 2 and, if approved, will appear before the full City Council on Tuesday. February 8 next at 1:30 p.m.
“I hope we find a solution that will allow Lighthouse Ministries to continue providing much needed food and resources to our community during the ongoing pandemic,” said board member Raul Peralez.
“I look forward to working with Pastor Olmos and the neighborhood to resolve any issues, and am grateful to his team for stepping in to fill the gaps for our struggling residents.”