Loveland Metropolis Council to contemplate tenting ban ordinance on Tuesday – Loveland Reporter-Herald

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The City Council will be presented with three options for implementing a ban on unauthorized encampments on City of Loveland property at its regular meeting on Tuesday.

Other items on the regular agenda include additional funding for the Grace Gardens affordable housing project, economic development support for Schlosser Signs, and broader disclosure requirements for city council election voters.

On May 3, the City Council directed City Manager Steve Adams to draft an ordinance banning outdoor camping to mitigate the effects of the proliferation of homeless encampments in the city’s natural areas such as King’s Crossing.

On Tuesday night, he and his staff will present proposed amendments to Loveland’s municipal ordinance that would ban overnight camping on city properties and authorize the “civil disposal” of camps with at least 48 hours’ notice.

The proposed regulation lists the “immediate preservation of public property, private property, health, safety and welfare” as a compelling reason for the ban, with a focus on combustible materials in the stores that could potentially start a destructive wildfire.

Also noted are the “detrimental” ecological and environmental impacts attributed to the spread of the camps, including reductions in water quality in the Big Thompson River due to garbage and permanent damage to native vegetation.

The pending code amendments allow for the “priority” reduction of overnight camps that can be demonstrated by “reasonable, articulable, detailed, evidence-based facts” to pose an “imminent” threat to public health or safety, harbor criminal activity, or the Impairing work of the city, among other things.

If a camp is dissolved, the city will keep campers’ personal belongings free of charge for up to 60 days.

However, camps will not be cut until the city can provide 24-hour housing. There are currently no city-owned facilities to accommodate the estimated 100 homeless people who would need to be removed.

The City Council will have the ability to pass the ordinance in an emergency, meaning it will be subject to only one reading and come into effect immediately. The Council could also vote to adopt the regulation on a non-emergency basis, making it subject to a longer deliberative process.

The City Council is also being asked to vote on an additional budget allocation of $500,000 to fund response efforts, again on an emergency or non-emergency basis.

If both the “emergency” ordinance and permit are passed, the city manager’s office is proposing to use local motel rooms as temporary alternative housing, at an estimated cost of more than $200,000 per month. Another option is a structured tent shelter, which requires more security and staff.

If the ordinance and assignment are passed without the emergency designation, the city would have more time to find other less expensive overnight accommodation, although it would delay enforcement of the ban. Options under consideration include renting or buying a building to be converted into emergency shelter, or buying land for a new facility.

The Council will also have the option to pass an emergency budget supplement, but not an emergency regulation.

Whatever the outcome, the City of Loveland will also be stepping up its street communications efforts with a mobile response team consisting of a behavioral medicine doctor, a nurse case manager and other professionals. The city also plans to reach out to other impacted communities, including nearby businesses and neighborhoods.

How to participate

The council will meet Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in the council chambers of the Parish Building, 500 E. Third St., Loveland.

Comments from members of the public will be accepted both in person and via Zoom.

Those wishing to join via Zoom can use ID 975 3779 6504 with a passcode of 829866 as per the meeting agenda.

The gathering will be broadcast on Comcast Channel 16 and streamed through the city’s website at loveland.viebit.com.

Tuesday’s agenda pack can be found on Loveland City Council’s website at lovgov.org.