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EG City Council approves ordinance on unlawful camping | News

Elk Grove City Council passed an ordinance on the city’s city code on June 8 regarding illegal camping within the city limits.

Camping is generally defined as maintaining a camping site in a facility for more than 24 hours.

Known as Chapter 9.38, the ordinance was developed with two main drivers: Providing housing resources to the uninhabited and establishing enforcement mechanisms for those who choose not to comply with the ordinance.

This ordinance was prepared for city council consideration by city staff, in consultation with Elk Grove’s ad hoc homeless committee, which is headed by Council members Pat Hume and Stephanie Nguyen.

Nguyen stressed the need for the city to have an illegal camping ordinance.

“As board member Pat Hume said, the camping process is getting out of hand in other cities and we need to take action,” he said.

“We need to be leaders here in this city to make sure the camps are not going to take place in so many different pockets across the city here, as we are seeing in so many areas.”

The approval of this ordinance by the city council creates a regulation against camping in public property less than 500 meters from playgrounds and kindergartens, schools and youth facilities; and camping on an area of ​​more than 150 square meters.

The ordinance also prohibits camps that impair access to public facilities and rights of way, and camps that are considered to be four or more people camping in a 50-foot area.

Camping areas will also be required to be clean and free of debris, debris and debris.

The ordinance provides protection to privately owned owners, as no camp can be located on private property without the owner’s consent.

Any campsite located on private property with permission must follow the rules that the camps are not disturbed.

It is also necessary for all camping structures to be safe, Elk Grove City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs said during his presentation to City Hall.

“Insecure structures will be reduced,” he said.

The ordinance includes penalties for violations. According to a municipal staff report, no sanctions should be imposed without first providing the offender with information about temporary and permanent housing services that are available in Elk Grove.

After that information is presented to an offender, the city can issue a 72-hour notice for a temporary seizure of personal property. The city will keep the personal belongings for recovery for 90 days, at which time the city will dispose of those assets.

Hobbs noted that the city is not required to hold personal items that are illegal or considered a security hazard.

“Those (items) can be removed immediately,” he said.

Although the ordinance was proposed to the council with a possible fine of $ 100 per day for the offenders, the council finally decided to remove that part of the ordinance.

Councilor Kevin Spease explained his concern about fining violators of this ordinance.

“My concern is that maybe in a case where we impose a fine on someone, we may be making them less fit to get housing elsewhere, because they have a couple of accumulated fines,” he said.

Deputy Mayor Darren Suen mentioned the challenges of fining people who cannot pay the $ 100 fine.

“The rate, I think, is a bit problematic, because a lot of these people don’t have money, so if they don’t pay, what would the city do at that time to collect?” he said. “Many of them, if you don’t have an address, how do you take care of them? So, bottom line is that we’re really looking forward to the $ 100 fee. “

Subsequently, the council debated the consideration of approving the ordinance, without the $ 100 fine, with the agreement that they return to the discussion next January on whether that fine is included.

Nguyen responded to that suggestion.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “Why are we delaying (that discussion)? If you’re not going to fine them now, we’ll have the same discussion again.”

Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen responded to Nguyen’s comment by suggesting removing the proposal to include a fine for offenders and removing the plan to discuss the issue of the fine in January.

“Let’s get rid of it, because we can always bring an amendment,” he said.

The city representative says between 100 and 150 homeless people live in EG at any given time

In a report to City Council, Alicia Tutt, the city’s housing and subsidy specialist, told City Council that at any given time, Elk Grove has between 100 and 150 homeless people.

“Certainly, there is much more throughout the year; however, some of those resolve as they find other options, “he said.

Tutt noted that this homeless population is housed in a mix of outdoor places, including tents and cars.

“We see a lot in vehicles, and specifically in families,” he said. “That’s where we see our families staying. We don’t see them in campsites.”

As for why homeless people choose to stay in Elk Grove, Tutt mentioned that they cite having connections to the community.

“So maybe their last residency was in Elk Grove, they have family or friends, their kids attend school here,” he said. “They may have a family member here offering them dinner and a chance to shower at their house, but they can’t really spend the night there.”

Tutt added that other homeless people in Elk Grove have said they prefer to stay in this city for security reasons rather than in areas like downtown Sacramento.

As for what is causing homelessness, Tutt noted the growing shortage of housing availability.

“The vacancy is low and there are between 15 and 20 applications for every unit that is available, making it difficult to compete, especially for those with previous evictions or bad credit,” he said.

With rising property values, many small homeowners are selling their properties, Tutt said.

“So the tenant who may have lived in a property for 10 years now receives a 60-day notice to find a new home, which is often not enough time,” he said.

He also mentioned that the average application rate for an apartment is $ 50 per adult.

“With so much competition, a lot of people are having to send a lot of requests for the units that are available,” Tutt said. “And we saw a woman who spent more than $ 8,000 on application fees alone and still couldn’t find housing.”

Another major challenge people face is a 30% increase in rental costs, compared to the cost of rent before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tutt summed up that part of his report to the council.

“Overall, affordable and affordable housing is a key factor in homelessness,” he said.

EG City Council approves ordinance on unlawful camping | News Source link EG City Council approves ordinance on unlawful camping | News

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