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Aurora camping ban proposal moves forward despite failing in committee vote

Mayor Mike Coffman said Thursday's 2-1 vote is non-binding.

AURORA, Colo — A proposed camping ban in Aurora is still moving forward despite failing by a vote of 2-1 during a committee hearing on Thursday, a tweet from Mayor Mike Coffman says.

Coffman said he took his camping ban proposal to the Housing Neighborhood Services and Redevelopment Policy Committee Thursday morning and even though it failed to pass, he said that vote is "non-binding" and the proposal will still proceed to the Public Safety Committee.

According to the text of the proposal, if approved, it would be "unlawful for any person to camp on private property without the express written consent of the property owner or the owner's agent..." and "...for any person to camp on any public property, except in any location where camping has been expressly authorized by the department having control, management, and supervision of the public property."

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As for enforcement, the text reads that an officer can't issue a citation, make an arrest or enforce the ban unless "...city staff or a law enforcement official have issued a person in a camp a verbal or written order to move from the camp and take their property with them..." and the person ordered to move was offered placement in a shelter. 

If the person refuses or fails to leave the camp property, the rule could be enforced. 

The text also explains that "any person convicted of violating this section shall be subject to the penalty provisions as provided in section 1-13 of the City Code."

Under that code, it includes penalties like a fine of up to $2,650, or up to one year of jail time.

However, a city spokesperson explained to 9NEWS that the city attorney’s office says the $2,650 fine or year imprisonment would be the maximum penalty, and that it is very unlikely that such a penalty would be imposed.  

RELATED: Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman introduces proposed camping ban

While Coffman believes the move would be a step forward for Aurora, those who oppose the ban say otherwise.

"First impression is that it does basically two things. The first is it codifies the existing policies that we have in place for abating camps," said Juan Marcano, an Aurora City Council member.

"And codifying some of those policies, I think is actually very harmful because those policies need to be flexible, because the scenario, you know, around these camps and the specific situations may change. So the departments need flexibility as opposed to being basically forced by law to always do things in a very specific way."

The proposal failed committee Thursday, according to Coffman, with Council Members Nicole Johnston and Allison Combs voting no and Marsha Berzins voting yes.



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