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Meeting Date April 18, 2017
AGENDA ITEM: Introduce and Waive First Reading of Ordinance No. of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 8, "Health and Sanitation" to Add Chapter 9, "Camping and Storage of Personal Property" to the Municipal Code
MEETING DATE: April 18, 2017
PREPARED BY: Jose M. Sanchez, City Attorney Ruben Chavez, Police Chief Odi Ortiz, Interim City Manager
Introduce and waive first reading of Ordinance No. _ of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 8, "Health and Sanitation" to Add Chapter 9, "Camping and Storage of Personal Property" to the Municipal Code.
BACKGROUND AND DISCUSSION:
The City of Livingston takes great pride in its parks, open spaces and public areas. The City is a blend of residential and agricultural land which creates an inviting and idyllic place to visit and live. Recently, the City has seen an increase in the number of persons who are camping outside on private and public property. The result of individuals camping out on public and private property is littering, unsanitary conditions, increased crime, and abandonment of property. The City has already had an increase in the number of complaints from citizens relating to camping on public and private property. The persistent use of public spaces, such as parks and open areas, for camping prevents others from accessing and using those areas and creates uninviting spaces within the City.
Additionally, extensive camping practices have also been found to cause environmental harms such as litter, fires, destruction of wildlife habitat, and water pollution. Allowing such harmful camping practices to continue without abatement may expose the City to not only physical damage to the landscape, but it also may expose the City to lawsuits from regulatory agencies. In 2016, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife filed a complaint against the City of San Jose for allowing homeless encampments to exist near water channels and claiming that the City of San Jose violated pollution laws by failing to adequately clean up homeless encampments along Coyote Creek. The Department of Fish and Wildlife, through its complaint, sought significant fines and penalties from the City of San Jose for its alleged failure to prevent the pollution.
The City strives to enact ordinances that protect the health and safety of the community in the City of Livingston. One option available to the City is the adoption of an ordinance that would prevent extensive camping on public and private property. The City, through the police power of Article XI, section 7 of the California Constitution, has the authority to adopt such an ordinance.
The attached Ordinance would prohibit camping on public property and would prohibit camping on private property: without permission of the owner; or with permission of the owner for no more than three (3) consecutive nights. The draft Ordinance does provide an exception for special event camping as permitted by the City Manager. The Ordinance would also prohibit storage of property and provides a procedure for the clearing and removal of personal property from a camp site.
Violations of the Ordinance would be prosecuted in accordance with Section 1-4-3 of the Livingston Municipal Code.
City staff has considered and discussed the significant homeless problem that is of state-wide and local concern. Rather, this Ordinance is intended to address and formalize a policy against the use of public and private property, streets, sidewalks, and other areas for extensive, This Ordinance does not intend to criminalize or target homelessness.unsanctioned camping, and/or storage of personal property when that use interferes with the rights of others and adversely affects the health and safety of the community and the environment.
Pursuant to section 1-4-3 of the Municipal Code, any person who violates any provision of the Municipal Code, or any other City Ordinance, may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor unless the violation is prosecuted as an infraction or through an administrative citation. Fines for infractions and administrative citations may range between one hundred dollars ($100) and five hundred dollars ($500), depending on the number of prior violations. Fines for misdemeanors may not exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) and imprisonment for less than six (6) months. Depending upon the method of enforcement, the City may incur costs related to prosecution of a violation of the proposed camping ordinance.
1. Ordinance No.
CITY OF LIVINGSTON ORDINANCE NO. _
AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON AMENDING TITLE 8 "HEALTH AND SANITATION" TO ADD
CHAPTER 9 "CAMPING AND STORAGE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY" TO THE MUNICIPAL CODE
WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Livingston strives to enact ordinances that protect the health and safety of the community in the City of Livingston; and
WHEREAS, to ensure that health and safety of the community, an ordinance to keep public spaces safe, clean, free from obstruction, readily accessible, and available for use by the public is necessary; and
WHEREAS, abusive camping practices have been found to cause environmental harms such as increased litter, fires, destruction of wildlife habitat, and water pollution; and
WHEREAS, by enacting this Ordinance, the City Council of the City of Livingston does not intend to criminalize homelessness but rather to address and formalize a policy against the use of public and private property, streets, sidewalks and other areas for camping, and/or storage of personal property when said use interferes with the rights of others and adversely affects the health and safety of the community.
THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON DOES ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Title 8 "Health and Sanitation" is hereby amended to add Chapter 9 "Camping and Storage of Personal Property" to read as follows:
CAMPING AND STORAGE OF PERSONAL PROPERTY
8-9-1: Purpose and Authority.
8-9-3: Camping Prohibited.
8-9-4: Storage of Property Prohibited.
8-9-5: Property Removal.
8-9-6: Property Disposition.
8-9-7: Permit for Special Events Required. 8-9-8: Posting Copy of Permit.
8-9-1: Purpose and Authority.
(A) The streets and public areas within the City should be readily accessible and available to residents and the public at large. The use of these areas for camping purposes or storage of personal property interferes with the rights of others to use the areas for which they were intended. Such activity can constitute a public health and safety hazard which adversely impacts neighborhoods and commercial areas. Camping on private property without the consent of the owner, proper sanitary measures, and for other than a minimal duration adversely affects private property rights as well as public health, safety, and welfare of the City.
The purpose of this Chapter is to maintain streets, parks and other public and private areas within the City in a clean, sanitary and accessible condition, and to adequately protect the health, safety and public welfare of the community, while recognizing that, subject to reasonable conditions, camping and camp facilities associated with special events can be beneficial to the cultural and educational climate in the City. Nothing in this Chapter is intended to interfere with otherwise lawful and ordinary uses of public or private property.
(B) This Chapter is adopted consistent with the City’s police power provided by Article XI, section 7 of the State of California Constitution and is necessary to preserve the public peace, safety and general welfare of the citizens.
Unless the particular provisions or the context otherwise requires, the definitions contained in this Section shall govern the construction, meaning, and application of words and phrases used in this Chapter.
(A) "Camp" or "Camping" shall mean to pitch or occupy camp facilities, or to use camp paraphernalia to live temporarily in a camp facility or outdoors.
(B) "Camp facilities" shall mean tents, huts or temporary shelters, and the like.
(C) "Camp paraphernalia" shall mean tarpaulins, cots, beds, sleeping bags, hammocks, fire stoves and similar equipment.
(D) "Establish" shall mean setting up or moving equipment, supplies or materials on to public or private property to "camp" or operate camp facilities.
(E) "Maintain" shall mean keeping or permitting equipment, supplies or materials to remain on public or private property in order to camp or operate camp facilities.
(F) "Operate" shall mean participating or assisting in establishing or maintaining a camp or camp facility.
(G) "Park" shall mean any public space designated as a park by the City of Livingston.
(H) "Personal effects" shall mean important documents such as birth certificate or driver’s license, medication, eye glasses, or other medical devices, a sanitary and non verminous sleeping bag or bed roll, tents in usable and reasonably good condition, clean, and non-verminous clothing stored in a manner protecting it from the elements, and personal property which would have obvious sentimental or monetary value to a reasonable person.
(I) "Personal property" shall mean property that is movable, as opposed to real property or real estate.
(J) "Private property" shall mean all private property including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalk, alleys, and improved or unimproved land.
(K) "Public property" shall mean all public property including, but not limited to, streets, sidewalks, alleys, improved or unimproved land and parks.
(L) "Store" shall mean to keep, put aside or accumulate for future use when needed.
(M) "Street" shall include all alleys, lanes, courts, boulevards, public ways, public squares, public places and sidewalks.
8-9-3: Camping Prohibited.
It is unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to camp, occupy camp facilities, or use camp paraphernalia in the following areas:
(A) Any public property; or
(B) Any private property.
(1) It is not intended by this Section to prohibit overnight camping on private residential property by friends or family of the property owner, so long as the owner consents and the overnight camping is limited to not more than three (3) consecutive nights.
(2) Nothing in this Chapter is intended to prohibit or make unlawful, activities of an owner of private property, or other lawful user of private property, that are normally associated with and incidental to the lawful and authorized use of private property for residential or other purposes; and provided further, nothing is intended to prohibit or make unlawful, activities of a property owner or other lawful user if such activities are expressly authorized by the Livingston Municipal Code or other laws, ordinances and regulations.
(3) The City Manager, or his or her designee, may, as provided in Section 8-9-7 of this Chapter, issue a temporary permit to allow camping on public or private property in connection with a special event.
8-9-4 : Storage of Property Prohibited.
It is unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to store personal property, including camp paraphernalia, in the following areas, except as otherwise provided by resolution of the City Council:
(A) Any public property; or
(B) Any private property without the written consent of the owner.
8-9-5 : Property Removal.
Any City law enforcement agent or code enforcement officer may remove personal property unlawfully stored as follows:
(A) The location of any personal property, including camp facilities and paraphernalia, shall be tagged and dated with a notice including the following:
"It is illegal to store personal property in a City park, street, public parking lot, or public area, improved or unimproved and on private property without the written consent of the owner of that property. If this personal property is not removed by (specify at least forty-eight (48) hours from posting), THIS PERSONAL PROPERTY SHALL BE DEEMED INTENTIONALLY ABANDONED AND SUBJECT TO REMOVAL AND POSSIBLE
DESTRUCTION. Remaining on the property after the date specified in this notice may cause further law enforcement action. Shelter is available at the following locations:"
(list shelters in local area)
(B) The City law enforcement agent or code enforcement officer may remove any personal property still unlawfully stored or remaining after the posting period has expired, but shall leave a written notice at the location of confiscation confirming that a seizure has occurred pursuant to this Chapter, and providing instructions on how to claim the property.
8-9-6 : Property Disposition.
(A) Following removal of unlawfully stored or remaining personal effects pursuant to section 8-9-5, a City law enforcement agent or code enforcement officer shall:
(1) Maintain an inventory identifying the personal effects, where the personal effects were approximately located, and the reasonable value of each item;
(2) Place the removed personal effects in containers labeled in a manner facilitating identification by the enforcement officer and owner and which reasonably protect such property from damage or theft; and
(3) Store removed personal effects in an area designated by the enforcement officer for a period of ninety (90) days in accordance with California Civil Code § 2080, et seq. (as amended) and shall, to the extent reasonably practical, and without any duty to investigate the recommended storage parameters, properly store perishable items such as medication.
(4) Any personal property or personal effects which a City law enforcement agent or code enforcement officer deems to be biohazardous or contaminated with a hazardous material including, but not limited to, items with feces, urine, fungus or vermin infestation, will be photographed but shall not be stored pursuant to this section and shall be properly disposed.
(B) If personal effects are claimed within ninety (90) days from removal, unless the property is connected to a crime or is illegal to possess, a City law enforcement agent or code enforcement officer shall release the stored property to the owner upon his or her identification of the property, and the approximate location where the property was left by the owner.
(C) Unlawfully stored or found personal effects pursuant to this Chapter remaining unclaimed at the end of ninety (90) days from removal shall be disposed of pursuant to California Civil Code§ 2080, et seq. (as amended), and may be sold at a public auction, dedicated for public use, or given for charitable use to a local nonprofit agency by the City.
8-9-7: Permit for Special Events Required.
The City Manager may, in his or her discretion, issue a permit to establish, maintain and operate a camp or a camp facility in connection with a special event.
A special event is intended to include, but not be limited to, programs operated by youth or school events, marathons or other sporting events and scouting activities. The City Manager may consult with various City departments, the health officer and the public prior to issuing any temporary permit. Each department or person consulted may provide comments regarding any health, safety or public welfare concerns, and provide recommendations pertaining to the issuance, denial or conditioning of the permit.
A reasonable fee, to be set by the City Council, shall be paid in advance by the applicant. The fee shall be returned if the application is denied. In exercising his or her discretion to issue a temporary permit, the City Manager may consider any facts or evidence bearing on the sanitary, health, safety and welfare conditions on or surrounding the area or tract of land upon which the proposed temporary camp or camp facility is to be located.
8-9-8: Posting Copy of Permit.
It is unlawful for any person to establish, maintain, conduct or carry on any camp or camp facility unless there shall be at all times, posted in a conspicuous place upon the area or tract of land upon which the camp or camp facility is located, a permit obtained from the City Manager in accordance with the provisions of Section 8-9-7 of this Chapter.
A violation of this Section shall be prosecuted in accordance with Section 1-4-3 of the Livingston Municipal Code. In addition to other penalties provided by the code, any violation of this Chapter, or other City ordinance, or any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this code, is a public nuisance and may be abated as such by the City."
SECTION 2. Authority. This Ordinance is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by the State of California Constitution and State law, including but not limited to Article XI, Section 7 of the State of California Constitution.
SECTION 3. Severability. If any provision of this Ordinance or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the Ordinance which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application. To this end, the provisions of the Ordinance are severable. This City Council hereby declares that it would have adopted this Ordinance irrespective of the invalidity of any particular portion thereof.
SECTION 4. Effective Date. This Ordinance shall become effective thirty (30) days after its final passage and adoption.
Passed and Adopted: