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Canyon looking to pass no camping on public property regulations

Modeled after Amarillo's controversial ordinance 


On Monday, August 6 at 5:30 pm, the Canyon City Commission will vote on a new ordinance that would prohibit camping or sleeping on public property, including municipal facilities, overnight (between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am).

An offense could be punishable by a maximum fine of $500 per day the offense occurs. In addition, the ordinance provides that the "nuisance" may be abated by removal of tents, bedding, and other personal belongings.

Canyon officials modeled the proposed regulations after the City of Amarillo's controversial no camping ordinance. It is already illegal in Canyon to camp out longer than 3 days or in city parks.

Read the full text of Canyon's proposed no camping ordinance below:

ORDINANCE NO. 1090

Camping on Public Property

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CANYON, TEXAS, AMENDING CHAPTER 95, NUISANCES, OF THE CITY OF CANYON CODE OF ORDINANCES, BY ADDING SECTION 95.07, CAMPING ON PUBLIC PROPERTY; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR REPEALER; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.

WHEREAS; the passage, promulgation, and enforcement of the provisions herein contained are determined necessary and advisable for the promotion of the general welfare of the community to carry out the governmental powers and police powers delegated to and possessed by the City of
Canyon; and, WHEREAS; the City Commission finds that the proposed amendments to Chapter 95 would be in the best interest of the City; NOW THEREFORE: BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CANYON, TEXAS;

SECTION 1:

That CHAPTER 95, NUISANCES, GENERAL PROVISIONS, Section 95.07, Camping on public property, is hereby adopted as follows:

(A) Definitions:

Camp or Camping. To stay in, on, or at a place overnight (that is, any time between the hours of 6:00 pm and 6:00 am) or sleep at a place. There is no required or minimum equipment or supplies necessary to constitute the act of camping, thus the act may or may not involve the presence or use of a bed, roll, blanket, temporary shelter, tent, lean-to, food, cooking utensils, fire, toilet, or recreational vehicle.

Municipal Facility.

For the purposes of this section, every structure, building, or land owned by the City of Canyon for the purposes of conducting business or operation of municipal government and includes all accessory areas such as, but not limited to, porch, steps, ramps, grounds, walks, lawn, yard, plaza, and parking lot. It includes, but is not limited to, city hall, library, police and fire stations, community center, street and sanitation facilities, water department facilities, sewerage treatment facilities, and water towers. For the purposes of this section, the term does not include a park.

Public Property.

Such places as described in Municipal Facility above, but which are owned or controlled by another governmental facility.

(B) Offense.

Except as provided in Subsection (D), it is hereby declared to be a violation of this Ordinance punishable under the general penalty provisions of §10.99 of this code to Camp:

(1) in, upon, or at a Municipal Facility (excluding designated sleeping quarters provided for public employees or volunteers for their use within the scope of their duties); or

(2) in, upon, or at a public right-of-way including a sidewalk, street, alley, highway, culvert, or any other Public Property.

(C) Abatement.

Camping in, upon, or at a Municipal Facility or Public Property in violation of this section is a nuisance that may be abated by summary removal of tents, bedding, and other personal belongings.

(D) Exceptions. It is an affirmative defense that a person was Camping:

(1) by temporarily parking a recreational vehicle, bus, pick-up camper, travel trailer, or similar vehicle or trailer:

(a) in a lawful manner, time, and place on a public street in accordance with applicable state law and city ordinance, or;

(b) in, on, or at such other location that is owned or under the control of another governmental entity, when and as may be permitted by that entity.

(2) in a public park if, when, and as such activity may be allowed by park rules and in strict compliance with the terms thereof.

(E) Intent.

This section is not intended to deny or to unduly restrict any person’s temporary use of a public sidewalk or other traditional public forum for demonstrations, pickets, marches, and other lawful expression activity, provided that such person, does not Camp in violation of this section, obstruct passage to other persons or vehicles, or otherwise violate applicable ordinance or state law.

SECTION 2:

Severability.

If any provision, section, subsection, clause, or the application of same to any person or set of circumstances for any reason is held to be unconstitutional, void or invalid or for any reason unenforceable, the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance or the application
thereby shall remain in effect, it being the intent of the City Commission of the City of Canyon, Texas in adopting this ordinance, that no portion thereof or provision continued herein shall become inoperative or fail by any reasons of the unconstitutionality of any other portion or
provision.

SECTION 3:

Repealer. All ordinances, parts of ordinances, resolutions, and parts of resolutions in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed to the extent of conflict with this ordinance.

SECTION 4:

This ordinance shall become effective upon approval.

Below is the letter from Canyon Director of Code Enforcement Danny Cornelius to City Manager Randy Criswell stating the Canyon ordinance was modeled after the Amarillo ordinance:

To: Randy Criswell, City Manager

From: Danny Cornelius, Director of Code Enforcement

Date: July 26, 2018

Re: Consider and Take Appropriate Action on Ordinance No. 1090, Amending Chapter 95, Nuisances, by Adding Section 95.07, Camping on Public Property.

Ordinance 1090 would prohibit camping or sleeping on public property, including municipal facilities, overnight (between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am). An offense could be punishable by a maximum fine of $500 per day the offense occurs (Section 10.99 of the Code of Ordinances).

In addition, the ordinance provides that the nuisance may be abated by removal of tents, bedding, and other personal belongings.

A City of Amarillo ordinance was used as a model.

Staff recommends that Ordinance 1090 be adopted.

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