Opponents of an Annapolis homeless shelter have abandoned their legal challenge, clearing the way for the shelter to open.

Wayne T. Kosmerl, attorney for The Inner West Street Association, Presidents Hill Association and residents Joan and David Simison, said his clients have decided not to appeal a Circuit Court judge's ruling allowing the Light House shelter to open.

"We may disagree with Judge Wolff's decision, but the standard by which his decision would be reviewed is stringent," Kosmerl said.

The shelter will be be located at 202-206 West St., the site of the former Capitol Convenience store.

Judge Martin A. Wolff's ruling on Nov. 19 upheld decisions by Planning and Zoning Director Eileen Fogarty and the Board of Appeals permitting the shelter to operate in an area that city officials have tried to revitalized in recent years. Fogarty and the board ruled the shelter was a philanthropic use, which is permitted under the area's MX zoning.

Kosmerl said his clients most likely will work with Annapolis Area Ministries, a coalition of six churches that has run the shelter at several locations since it opened in November 1988.

"I'm sure they'll work things out and keep close tabs on the shelter," Kosmerl said.

The shelter's administrative and case work offices already have moved from the Carroll House behind St. Mary's Church to the first floor of the building, Ministries president Jack Mason said. Jake Thomas, the shelter's new director, began work Monday.

When finished, the shelter will have 12 beds on the first floor and three apartments -- one for a case worker and two for homeless families -- on the second floor. Mason said he hopes the shelter will open in 2-3 months.

The Ministries has submitted a final site design to the planning and zoning department for approval. Fogarty said the department will review the concerns of the opposition, such as a parking lot, loading zone and buffers. The public works and fire departments also will review the plan, and the Ministries may need a variance from the Board of Appeals, Fogarty said.

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