Monday, February 15, 2021

Camping Ordinance, CRV Concern Letter on Eureka Council Agenda

Posted By on Mon, Feb 15, 2021 at 5:19 PM

click to enlarge eureka.jpg
The Eureka City Council is slated Tuesday to consider another iteration of a camping ordinance and look at sending a letter to state officials, the California League of Cities and the state recycling commission on impacts to local stores due to a lack of CRV redemption centers.

The camping ordinance before council members is a response to the 2019 Ninth Circuit Court decision Martin vs. City of Boise, in which the court overturned the Idaho city's camping ordinance on the grounds that it "criminalized necessary human behavior; specifically, sleeping, sitting, and lying on public property when homelessness and lack of available shelter gives individuals no alternative."

The Eureka ordinance up for approval would ban involuntary camping in many sections of the city, including business districts such as Henderson Center and Old Town and near high-use trail areas as well as the Sequoia Park Zoo and Eureka Municipal Golf Course.

“In summary, this bill prohibits camping by anyone in specified places and by anyone between the hours of 30 minutes after sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset, with weather-related exceptions,” states the agenda summary from the Feb. 2 meeting, when it was reintroduced. “At the same time, it decriminalizes ‘involuntary camping' by persons for whom there is no shelter or ‘available accommodation’ in real time in the city for that person.”

According to the proposed ordinance, law enforcement would prioritize use of the city’s “restorative justice and diversion programs” over infraction citations “when offenders are willing and able to participate in those programs.”

There are also some changes to regulations regarding camping on private property, generally restricting the activity to areas that are residentially zoned and currently used for that purpose, with the consent of “the owner of at least a 50 percent interest.”

In other business, the council will consider sending the CRV letter, which notes how the dearth of redemptions centers in Humboldt County not only impacts residents who want to cash in their recyclables but also has local stores facing stiff fines for not offering the service under state legislation known as the Bottle Bill. (Read more about the issue in the Journal’s Jan. 28 cover story “Taxed.”)

Find the full agenda for the 6 p.m. meeting here, including information on how to watch and comment. 
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Kimberly Wear

Kimberly Wear is the assistant editor of the North Coast Journal.

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