City votes to ban public property camping


ALAMOSA — Deemed a problem due to complaints of Recreational Vehicles (RV) parking at Cattails Golf Course the city voted on Wednesday to ban camping on public property without expressed permission from the city. Though the public hearing on the matter did not garner any public opinion it still was rather contentious on its second reading, passing by a 5-2 vote with the ‘no’ votres coming from Councilors Charlie Griego and Jan Vigil.

The first of two related ordinances passed on Wednesday, 9-2021, was born of concern about an ordinance that the city thought they already had, no camping on Public Grounds. Which is what lead to the development of the Saint Benedict Campground.

And the drafting of the ordinance was carefully done to avoid targeting any populations which was referenced in the background for the ordinance in case Martin v. City of Boise which was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court in 2019 that homeless individuals cannot be punished for sleeping on public property without adequate alternatives.

An issue addressed with the aforementioned St. Benedict campground in Alamosa. In the text of the ordinance that police are not to issue a citation without first determining “that there is space available in a publicly or privately operated shelter within city limits, and such shelter will accept such person, or there is space available in a campground or other public space within city limits, or within one mile of city limits, expressly allowing camping”

The newly-minted ordinance may go hand in hand with another ordinance that was also passed on Wednesday, 10-2021 which limits the parking of trailers and RVs on streets and alleys.

10-2021 lies in a similar vein and seeks to keep streets clear of trailers and RV.

In the new ordinance, potential offenders cannot keep certain vehicles including but not limited to motor homes, recreational vehicles, or camper trailers “upon any public street, alley, park or way of the city for a period of time exceeding 72 hours”.

9-2021 also seeks to tighten a standing loophole by ensuring said vehicles aren’t being moved slightly strictly to skirt under the bar, “It shall not be a defense to this section that the vehicle or trailer has been moved prior to the running of any such 72 hour period, unless the vehicle or trailer has been moved at least 500 feet from its prior location, and has been at least 500 feet from its prior location for a period of at least seven days.”

Ordinance 9-2021 also received some pushback passing by a 5-1 margin with Councilor Kristina Daniels casting the lone no vote.

Both ordinances go into effect 10 days from July 21. To read more on both ordinances be sure to visit https://cityofalamosa.org/city-council-agendas/

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