Tedford Housing’s Cumberland Street unit in Brunswick, as seen in this March 2017 file photo (Ben Goodridge / The Times Record)

BRUNSWICK — The Brunswick Town Council on Monday unanimously extended a moratorium by six months that would prevent plans for a new homeless shelter from moving forward.

The town, meanwhile, will await recommendations from its Shelter Task Force.

The decision further delays Tedford Housing’s push to build a new homeless shelter in Brunswick, replacing outdated facilities that have to turn away  up to 300 families and 280 individual adults looking for a place to stay each year.

When Tedford Housing announced plans for a new shelter at the corner of Baribeau Drive and Pleasant Hill Road earlier this year, the town was caught without rules governing where such shelters could be located, despite having an operational shelter in town for years. The council adopted a moratorium to halt further development of the shelter until the town could develop zoning rules governing where in the town shelters could be located.

The moratorium has already led to Tedford Housing putting a hold on its capital campaign for the new facility. The agency also let its option to purchase the property at the corner of Baribeau Drive and Pleasant Hill Road expire.

With the moratorium set to expire next week, the city’s Shelter Task Force, which was assembled to come up with rules to regulated future shelter operations, still wasn’t ready to present changes. City officials decided to give the group up to another six months to work.

The task force expects to present recommendations at the council’s October 1 meeting, but it will still be months before the council will be ready to adopt rules and allow Tedford Housing to move forward with planning a new shelter. Councilor James Mason, who chairs the task force, explained that there would still be a three-month process of hearings and board meetings before a new ordinance could be adopted, assuming there were no hiccups.

If all goes according to plan, the new rules would go into effect in early 2019 at the earliest. That would mark about nine months since the moratorium first went into effect.

Tedford Housing is seeking to build a new resource center that would replace the two shelters it currently operates in Brunswick, both of which are more than 100 years old.

“They are very worn-out and really don’t provide the types of spaces that fit into a modern model of providing not only shelter beds but also housing services,” Tedford Housing Executive Director Craig Phillips told The Times Record previously.

The nonprofit has stated that its current facilities are filled to capacity, and they report having to turn away 300 families and 280 adult individuals annually.

At the council meeting Monday evening, Phillips expressed his hope that councilors understand the importance of programs like his.

“As the council and planning board proceed with their work, our hope is that the discussion focus on responsibly facilitating the development of shelter facilities, and recognize that programs such as Oasis, Gathering Place and Midcoast Hunger are not burdens on the community but are valuable resources and assets for assisting the community to address and help real people with real needs,” said Phillips.

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