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Saturday, March 31, 2007 - Page updated at 09:35 PM

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Information in this article, originally published March 28, 2007, was corrected March 31, 2007. A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed comments to planning director Rob Odle. Rod T. Harmon, attorney for St. Jude, was the one who said the City Council may have to make a determination about land-use code. He also said the church will not have to pay fines for hosting the encampment without a valid permit. But actually, that has not yet been determined.

Tent City 4 to stay at Redmond church

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

St. Jude Catholic Church may continue to host Tent City 4 — and won't have to pay fines to do it.

The Redmond City Council voted 5-1 Tuesday night to overturn a city hearing examiner's decision that voided the temporary-use permit that city planning director Rob Odle issued to the church in December.

The permit allowed St. Jude to host the encampment, with some conditions, for 90 to 110 days.

But in February, a city hearing examiner ruled that the Redmond Planning Department erred by not bringing the issue before the City Council before issuing the temporary-use permit.

Several parties, including Tent City 4, Redmond city staff, and residents opposing the camp's stay at St. Jude, appealed the hearing examiner's decision to the City Council.

Voting in the minority Tuesday night, Councilman Richard Cole said he believed that the council, not the city's planning director, should have handled the permit, though it likely would have produced the same result.

Because the permit is now valid, the encampment is no longer in violation of the law and does not face fines, said Rod T. Harmon, attorney for St. Jude.

St. Jude's pastor, the Rev. Dave Rogerson, said the council's decision was a relief.

St Jude helped tent-city residents set up camp at the church Feb. 11, despite a warning from city officials that the church, operating without a valid permit, would accrue fines starting at $350 per day.

The council's decision to uphold the permit does not resolve one disputed condition — whether the required background checks will be conducted by the King County Sheriff's Office, as Tent City 4 has proposed, or by Redmond police, as some Redmond residents have insisted.

Harmon said council members may have to determine whether the land-use code extends to this type of permit condition.

Amy Roe: 206-464-3347 or aroe@seattletimes.com

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