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It is the purpose of this chapter to address:
A. Adverse Public Impacts of Camping. People camping on public property and on public rights-of-way create a public health and safety hazard due to the lack of proper food storage, cooking, electrical and/or sanitary facilities. People without proper sanitary facilities have openly urinated, defecated, and littered on private and public property and on the public rights-of-way. Use of public property for camping purposes or storage of personal property interferes with the rights of others to use the areas for the purposes for which they were intended and creates public health and safety dangers to the city’s sensitive ecological areas, including the city’s water sources, through illegal dumping and improper disposal of human waste. People cooking with open flames while camping endanger the lives and property of those nearby through uncontrolled fire.
B. Adverse Impacts of Camping on the Poor and Infirm. Many individuals who camp on public property do so not by choice, but due to a lack of financial means to afford adequate shelter. These individuals are also adversely mentally and physically impacted by camping. Single female camp occupants experience a disproportionately high incidence of violent crime as compared to other people. Families with children who camp as a result of a lack of adequate shelter are also disproportionately adversely impacted through risk of physical danger and impediments to childhood education.
C. Constitutional Limitations on Available Remedies. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment”; the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has interpreted this prohibition to forbid cities from criminalizing camping in all places, at all times, by those who lack the financial means to pay for adequate shelter unless adequate shelter is available to such person free of charge.
D. Supportive Campsites. The establishment of supportive campsites creates a means of connecting individuals to services that reduce barriers to obtaining shelter and housing while providing options for lawful camping which are incidental to the receipt of such services.
E. Need for Themed Supportive Campsites. The city has an important government interest in protecting the physical safety and emotional well-being of residents of campsites occupied by single occupant females, and families with children. The establishment of themed supportive campsites as defined herein reserved for members of these groups serves that important government interest and is substantially related to accomplishing those objectives. (Ord. M-4348 § 2, 2021; Ord. M-4133 § 1, 2015; Ord. M-3323, 1997)