A new ordinance will come into effect in the North Bend city in King County of WA next week that will make all kinds of camping on the city’s assets an offense that could be fined. The ordinance enacts the latest Chapter 9.60 of North Bend Municipal Code, and particularly refers to problems with homeless encampments like trash, discarded hypodermic needles and human waste.
The ordinance is implemented just weeks after a group of citizens started a new emergency shelter for winter for the homeless.
The Ordinance prohibits sleeping in public places and follows amendments proposed by Councilman Ross Loudenback; it also prohibits making fires on public property outside designated areas like park fire pits, reported valleyrecord.com.
Several discussions were held over the past year regarding the issues with the homeless. City Administrator Londi Lindell has reminded the city council about the issue several times and says the new ordinance is well-matched with their objectives for public properties.
The new ordinance comes into effect from 28th January 2013. According to the code, camping on any public place will be punishable by a fine up to $100. The definition includes using a vehicle as a residence, storing personal items and sleeping in public places. As planned, the ordinance will not pertain neither to people sleeping in public places during the day time, provided they have not put up some type of structure nor it applies to activities certified with a special events permit, or fires in conventional park fire pits.
Public places include sidewalks, lanes, streets, rights-of-way, alleys, parks, underneath bridges and viaducts. Park hours are from morning to evening and visitors found in the park other than those timings can be charged with an offense.
The Snoqualmie Valley Winter Shelter opened on 22nd December 2012 and operates through 7th March 2013. North Bend Community Church, 146 East 3rd Street hosts it and it is open to guests from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and closes by 8 a.m.