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Aurora City Council passes urban camping ban

The ban prohibits all urban camping on private and public property within Aurora.

AURORA, Colo. — The Aurora City Council voted 6-5 Monday night to pass an amended version of Mayor Mike Coffman’s urban camping ban.

The Denver Gazette reports the ban prohibits all urban camping on private and public property within Aurora. It also requires a 72-hour notice before an unauthorized camp is shut down, and for the city to have shelter available for every person staying in the camp. If shelter space is not available, the city would not touch the camp, according to the ban.

The original version of the ban, which passed first reading Feb. 28, was amended to direct city staff to develop a policy on storing valuable items from an abated camp. Aurora City Council passed that version on second reading March 14. 

Because a substantial amendment was added, though, the ban needed to pass another vote. That vote was scheduled for Monday night. 

The ordinance will go into effect 30 days from the vote, the Gazette reports

"Whether it happens tomorrow or 30 days from now, I'm a criminal," said Nathaniel Crawford, who has lived on the streets for about five years in Aurora. "I'm on a clock waiting for them to come mess with me." 

Crawford believes he doesn't have many options before the ban goes into effect. 

"When you have no other choice, what do you do?" said Crawford. "Do you run? Do you hide? Do you stand there and say, 'Fine, if I’m a criminal then, come get me?'" 

Near the beginning of Monday's meeting, Mayor Pro Team Françoise Bergan said that while some of the city leaders were on a call to review the meeting agenda, they were told about social media threats to the mayor and councilmembers regarding Monday's meeting.

The Aurora Police Department said they are looking into the social media posts. Due to the investigation, they were unable to provide information about the nature of the threats. The police department said they increased their presence at the meeting out of an abundance of caution. 

RELATED: Denver to begin using civilian team to cite people living in homeless encampments

RELATED: Researchers examine whether urban camping bans help people out of homelessness

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