City Council will discuss repeal of or changes to the “Anti-Camping Ordinance. Below is F3’s stance on this issue.
F3 urges the city to reconsider Ordinance 6-01-001-0022 CAMPING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY WITHIN CITY LIMITS, often referred to as the Anti-Camping Ordinance.
There are several important considerations involved in this ordinance, but we feel it is vital to first address issues of social justice and safety. As the ordinance stands, our already vulnerable transient population is put at further risk through its enforcement as a criminal offense.
The ordinance as written focuses on the effects of persons camping within the city rather than the cause. To address the cause, persons without permanent shelter need to be close to services and amenities. By not allowing these persons to shelter themselves from our often volatile weather inside city limits, we push them further away from the help they need to get off the streets.
F3 proposes the following solution:
1.) Change the penalty for violation of Ordinance 6-01-001-0022 from criminal to civil.
2.) Amend Ordinance 6-01-001-0022 exclude the following from the list of prohibitions:
- (1) Sleeping activities or making preparations to sleep including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping;
- (4) Using any tent, shelter, vehicle, or other structure for sleeping;
Removing the above will create a more humane ordinance that allows for people to provide themselves shelter for sleeping outdoors in intemperate weather. Leaving in place the other prohibitions about storing belongings and making fires will speak to citizen concerns about fire and “encampments.”
Further, to address the issues surrounding “camping” within city limits fully, we encourage the city to look into Title 10-50.80 of the city code which specifies that RVs on personal property can only be occupied up to 5 days per month. There are people who live in RVs on the street in Flagstaff because they cannot afford housing in the city. If it were legal for them to park their RV on privately owned land and live in it full time, they would be both safer and more comfortable. Additionally, because of the exorbitant cost of housing in Flagstaff, many renters would benefit from the option to live RVs or in Tiny Homes on wheels in the city, and many property owners would benefit from the additional income.
You can read the city’s brief on this issue here: