CENTENNIAL, Colo. — An urban camping ban in Centennial is moving forward following unanimous approval from the city council at a meeting Monday night.
The ordinance will prohibit camping along city rights of way, such as parks, trails and other municipal property and drainage areas.
"This is a public safety issue, rights of ways and drainage areas serve specific purposes that are not compatible with camping," city attorney Robert Widner said Monday night. "Allowing people to camp along rights of way and within drainage areas creates a risk to the health of the people camping as well as the general public."
Under the ordinance, police will first be required to provide a verbal notice to violators and offer resources. Those who refuse to move could eventually be fined, which is something opponents said just doesn't make sense because a majority of the people fined wouldn't be able to afford to pay the fines.
"You have a choice tonight. Recognize the humanity in those that are sleeping in our public spaces and work together to create an alternative solution, such as additional housing and services, or spend your time and money in additional costly litigation," said Kristen who was at Monday's meeting.
Supporters said while they have compassion for those experiencing homelessness, they argued that they shouldn't have to deal with the trash and other health risks often associated with the camps.
"The camp that is right behind me is practically on me…is huge," said Karen, a resident who attended Monday's meeting. "I’ve dealt with people that are having this problem but I think we also need to think of the people that shouldn’t have to live with this in their neighborhood."
The ordinance will take effect in 30 days.
Parker, Boulder, and Denver have enacted similar camping bans.
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