Think City Council meetings are yawners? Not when Tent City‘s up for discussion. A “recommended ordinance regarding temporary encampments” is on the agenda on January 19. There will also be a public hearing.
“WHEREAS Tent City 4 came to the City of Mercer Island in 2008 and the City developed its own experience with regard to the temporary encampment…”
New camps have these restrictions:
- Must have a permit
- No more than one camp in the city at a time
- Max 100 people per camp; no children
- 90 day maximum stay
- Must be at least 20 feet away from any residential property, and have a fence at least 6 feet high between camp and homes
- Must be within 1/2 mile of a public transit stop
- Host is responsible for ensuring no drugs, alcohol or weapons are present
- Must have checked for outstanding warrants or sex offenders
- No permits for the same place for another 18 months
To get a permit, applicants must hold a public hearing and notify by mail all property owners within 600 feet. That part is clearly to address the anger over the permitting process last time.
Early in the “WHEREAS”es the authors basically say that the City can’t or won’t ban camps like Tent City entirely. But I’ll bet there will be plenty of debate on the new ordinance as well as any permit applications.