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It is the purpose of this chapter to address:

A. Adverse Public Impacts of Camping and Outside Habitation. People camping and habitating outside on public property and on public right-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 right-of-way. Use of public property for purposes of camping, outside habitation, 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 or habitating outside endanger the lives and property of those nearby through uncontrolled fire. There is an increased risk of a dangerous wildfire event in certain areas along the Burnt Bridge Creek due to the existence of one or more of the following characteristics: steep slopes, typical afternoon onshore winds, heavy vegetation, limited vehicle access, limited water supply, and the presence of nearby residences.

B. Adverse Impacts of Camping and Outside Habitation on the Poor and Infirm. Many individuals who habitate outside 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 being unsheltered. Single females who habitate outside experience a disproportionately high incidence of violent crime as compared to other people. Families with children who habitate outside 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 and outside habitation 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. Safe Stay Communities. The establishment of safe stay communities 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 Specific Population Safe Stay Communities. The city has an important government interest in protecting the physical safety and emotional well-being of residents of safe stay communities occupied by single-occupant females, and families with children. The establishment of specific population safe stay communities as defined herein reserved for members of these groups serves that important government interest and is substantially related to accomplishing those objectives. (Ord. M-4379 § 2, 2022; Ord. M-4348 § 2, 2021; Ord. M-4133 § 1, 2015; Ord. M-3323, 1997)