A Russian River area task force has identified eight potential sites for a permanent Guerneville-area homeless shelter.
After a year of debate, the choices were winnowed from a list of 200, said John Haig of the Sonoma County Community Development Commission.
"We evaluated old sites as well as new," Haig said. "We weren't able to come up with one super-site that would work. They all have things to recommend them and things that are problematic with them."
The River Area Shelter and Downtown Task Group, which released the list Monday, will hold a public workshop Thursday to preview the alternatives. The Board of Supervisors will make the final decision, Haig said.
The shelter would be open all year as a drop-in center offering assistance, showers, mail, laundry and meals. It would be open with 30 to 40 beds as an emergency winter shelter.
"There isn't a perfect site, but all of these could be made to work," Haig said.
At the top of the list is the Guerneville Community Church on Armstrong Woods Road, where a temporary homeless shelter is scheduled to open Dec. 1.
However, it is adjacent to the Guerneville Elementary School, which has 387 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
"What do I need to do to communicate my concerns?" said Elaine Carlson, school principal and district superintendent.
She said she is afraid the shelter would expose children to vulgar language and coarse behavior, and possibly drug and alcohol use.
"I just don't think it is the safest place, for both," Carlson said.
Second on the list is a Sonoma County corporation yard, also on Armstrong Woods Road and not far from the elementary school. However, county officials are not interested in parting with it, it's in a flood zone and a general plan amendment would be needed for the conversion.
A one-acre lot on River Road east of downtown Guerneville is rated third, but it, too, is prone to flooding, also would require a general plan amendment to develop and neighborhood opposition is likely.
The other recommendations are the West County Senior Resource Center, Napa Auto & Glass, End of the Rainbow nursery, Matlock Roofing and a vacant parcel on River Road east of downtown.
The community meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Guerneville Veterans Memorial Building.
The task force will meet again on Nov. 15 to make a final recommendation to the county administrator and the Board of Supervisors.