Edmonds Metropolis Council to revisit proposal to make tenting on public property unlawful

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The possible Council vote comes after changes were made to the regulation after concerns were raised about the original proposal.

EDMONDS, Wash. – The Edmonds City Council may vote on a revised proposal aimed at reducing illegal camping on public property during a special session Thursday night.

Penalties would be imposed under the ordinance if there is evidence that someone intends to illegally occupy city property, at least overnight, and refuses accommodation. Shelters would need to be available to enforce the regulation.

According to the regulation, other services for the homeless would also be offered.

The regulation was originally put to the vote when it was introduced on April 26th. However, several issues were raised and the session ended before a vote.

The ordinance was amended during the May 3 meeting, but the meeting was adjourned before action could be taken.

According to the May 5 special meeting agenda, the revised regulations “make it clear” that it is illegal for anyone to occupy or store personal effects overnight on public property if accommodation is denied.

The ordinance “seeks to establish a compassionate approach to helping our city’s unplaced residents by first offering human services, including available housing, and only causing penal provisions to be enforced when available housing is refused.” , it says in the language of the regulation.

A first-time violation would face a fine of up to $1,000 or up to 90 days in prison, or both. Those who break the law a second time within five years would face a misdemeanor and the same fine and jail time — the $100 fine and one day’s imprisonment would not be suspended or deferred. Third and subsequent offenses would be subject to the same penalty, with a $500 fine and five days imprisonment not being suspended or deferred.

Those unable to pay the fine had to do community service or be placed on a work crew.