Lake County commissioners deny request to expand domestic violence shelter

Video: Lake County commissioners deny request to expand domestic violence shelter

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — The director of a Lake County domestic violence shelter said she fears for the women whom she’s forced to turn away after county commissioners denied her request to expand the shelter.

“I’ve already turned down 776 (women) since this started,” said Kelly Smallridge, executive director for the Haven of Lake and Sumter counties.

However, some neighbors in the area don’t want to see the place expanding.

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Those neighbors were at a commission meeting Wednesday and begged the county to keep the shelter as it is.

Smallridge and her staff said they’re working to challenge the county’s decision to stop the shelter’s expansion plans. She said the shelter needs to expand because it’s only zoned to house 14 people.

Smallridge said she wants the shelter to be able to house up to 120 people by building two dorms and adding an animal kennel.

In the end, commissioners voted down the plan.

The shelter’s attorney said county leaders didn’t deny the shelter is needed, they just felt it is in the wrong location.