While the city of Davenport has made some progress toward finding a solution to the zoning problems with Timothy's House of Hope, many residents and business owners continued to protest its homeless outreach services coming to the neighborhood.
A packed house came to the Historic Washington Street Business Association's meeting Monday night at Johnnie's General Store, where Alderwoman Maria Dickmann, 2nd Ward, asked for a week's time to find a compromise.
"There have been some conversations that might lead to a resolution that everyone will be happy with," Dickmann said.
Timothy's House of Hope, a ministry of Compassion Church, moved into 1602 Washington St. last month after relocating from 1407 W. 4th St.
The city issued a cease-and-desist order on April 19 after finding that its meal service did not fit within the acceptable uses of its current C-2 zoning, General Commercial District.
Reversing course, the city has elected to issue Timothy's House of Hope a temporary permit as it changes its current zoning ordinance.
Because of the intent to change the zoning ordinance, City Attorney Tom Warner has said there is no justice in enforcing it if the law will be changed soon.
While Dickmann asked the businesses for a week to work out the issues, many scoffed at the idea, including Larry Nelson, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1975.
"I live right across the alley from them and I'm not interested in compromise," Nelson said. "If I have to compromise, I would like the city to reassess my property because they are not going to pay any. We're the ones who are going to get hit here."
Dickmann was then asked to name one advantage of having the services in the area and if she would want it in her neighborhood, which prompted Ezra Sidran to speak out in her defense.
Sidran pulled out a flier sent to different businesses and residents that referenced concerns about increased crime, littering and loitering, but said those things were already there.
"In the sentence right here, 'they have thrown it in our faces that we are the bad guys,'" Sidran said. "You're not bad guys, but you don't have any compassion, either."
When Dickmann again was asked if she would want those services in her neighborhood, she responded "If it was something that fit in the neighborhood, yes."
One of the major bones of contention though was the lack of meetings between the church and the business owners.
A meeting was supposed to take place Tuesday, but president Rick Piatt confirmed that the business association had canceled the meeting because it sought a more personal conversation between the parties.
"We don't have legal counsel," Piatt said. "That's not fair to us as a group if they are bringing their attorney. What are they scared of?"
In a letter to the city, the church's legal counsel, Mike Meloy, issued an ultimatum as a result.
"If the neighborhood association refuses to meet on May 22, 2017, we will not reschedule another meeting," Meloy said.
While Piatt said the association was adamant about holding the meeting without lawyers, he still held out hope of coming to an amicable resolution.
"I hope they work things out that are fair and honest for both sides," Piatt said. "Everybody can point fingers at everybody for doing something wrong, but I think we're trying to do something right. We're standing up for our neighborhood."