By Christin Ayers

FREMONT (CBS SF) — Hundreds of irate protesters packed a Fremont City Council meeting Tuesday night, voicing their opposition to plans to build a homeless navigation center on either city hall property or on a vacant lot off Decoto Blvd.

The city narrowed down its list of potential locations for the center from 11 sites down to two. Some people who live near the Decoto site said it was too close to residential areas.

“The Decoto site is much closer to elementary schools like Warwick and Patterson,” said Fremont resident Hiu Ng.

Ng started a change.org petition opposing the Decoto site, which garnered more than 8,000 signatures. He said he would prefer to see the navigation center built on what is currently a parking lot behind Fremont city hall.

But Niraj Jetly, who lives not far from city hall, insisted building the site downtown would only increase the homeless population.

“I don’t believe it should be here,” he said.

Inside the city council meeting, 250 people, divided on where the center should be, signed up to speak during public comment.

Outside the council chambers, a homeless woman who wanted to be identified only as “Yolanda,” told KPIX-5 she had been living in a tent in the parking lot of city hall for weeks. She said she would love to see a homeless navigation center built on the site.

“It does make sense because a lot of homeless people are already here and they wouldn’t have to go out of their way,” she said.

Fremont mayor Lily Mei said the city would hold two community meetings August 14 and 24 to get more feedback from the community. A decision on the location of the navigation center could come as early as September.

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