San Luis Obispo bans tents in city parks

May 10, 2022

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

Amid an ongoing court case over homeless camping, the San Luis Obispo City Council last week adopted an ordinance banning people from erecting tents in public parks.

The city council previously adopted multiple ordinances barring overnight access to parks and public spaces. Last year, a group of homeless individuals and advocates sued the city in federal court, asking that San Luis Obispo’s homeless population be granted the right to sleep in tents and vehicles in public places without facing destruction of their property, harassment, fines and criminal charges. Earlier this year, a judge rejected the city’s attempt to have the case dismissed.

Prior to the lawsuit being filed, the city tabled a proposed ordinance clarifying that tents and similar structures are prohibited in city parks. Recently, though, city staff brought the ordinance back to the council.

Tents create visual blight and unsanitary conditions in public parks and can be used to conceal illegal activities, including public drug use, alcohol consumption and sex, a city staff report on the matter stated.

Last Tuesday, during deliberations on the ordinance, council members discussed the occurrence of violent and unsafe behavior in city parks. The council voted 3-2 to adopt the ordinance banning tents in city parks, with Councilwomen Andy Pease and Michelle Shoresman casting the dissenting votes.


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Zoiebowie

Well now where am I going to do drugs and have sex?


kayaknut

A lot of government buildings are available.


Rambunctious

If we have billions of dollars to send to Ukraine we can provide housing and mental healthcare and drug addiction treatment for these people….


unusualsuspect

There’s millions spent on services that are available to the homeless right now, so… why not do both? Ignoring an event like Ukraine invasion is in no way better than sending support. Ridiculous take.


Florian75

Ukrainians have unequivocally demonstrated they are more deserving.


derasmus

Perhaps, so, I agree. However, prior to this war Ukraine was ranked the third most corrupt country in Europe. Further, we hear nothing about Ukrainian oligarchs and their riches? What are they doing to help? Also, what measures, if any, are in place to ensure some of those expensive US weapons like handheld Javelins, (paid for by all of us) will not end up making someone rich? Also, I don’t feel that Europe is spending enough of their treasury on a war in their backyard.


Don’t get me wrong, we need to help, and Ukrainian forces have more than proven themselves worthy, and Putin is a Bolshevik monster…I get all that.


I just have questions


kayaknut

Passing a a law/ban is one thing and enforcing it is another. We have plenty of laws already on the books that certain people already ignore or know nothing will happen to them if they violate them. Passing a new one may make officials feels better but without follow through is meaningless.


billsr

Funny how people applaud this but don’t realize thar these people will find another place to sleep, probably in your yard, or in doorways of downtown slo. It’s easy to judge the homeless and put them in the same categories as druggie, but in reality a lot are veterans who served and have been mentally screwed up by war and other horrific things that they have been through to protect your freedom, but you aren’t willing to step up and help them, only condemn them.


unusualsuspect

The point IS that they will have to find another place to sleep; hopefully one that provides services and real shelter. It is for their own good whether anyone chooses to believe that or not.


Laughlines

Many of the homeless who claim to be veterans are not. I’m a veteran and I had a guy in his 30s try to tell me he’d served in Vietnam. There are some, to be sure, but many others try to play that card. A surplus pair of ACU trousers does not a veteran make.


Jon Tatro

Paso “closes “ all of its parks at 10 pm unless you have a permit for a function. People still use the park after 10 but it gives the PD the ability to enforce it if problems occur such as transients setting up camps. It really isn’t that hard if you have the will to get results.


ImDone

Maybe the 2 dissenting voters need some tents in their front and back yards.


womanwhohasbeenthere

About time! One has to get a permit to have a day event in Laguna Lake Park; you can only have your dog off leash in a restricted area and are asked to clean up after it (poop bags provided free), but anyone could pitch a tent and sleep there, leave trash and needles everywhere, and no problem?


unusualsuspect

I applaud this ordinance as a step in the right direction. Get them some real help, off the streets, and into legitimate centers. Giving them tents and allowing them to sleep in cars only exacerbates and prolongs the issue.


Jorge Estrada

Certainly in a rational world this is good but there are those who will not participate where rules are enforced. I believe from what I see on the streets, that many will continue to thieve shopping carts in-order to move their piles from one place to another. These non-conforming people are not the minority and will remain in large numbers, even where housing can be provided. The progress for a solution will accelerate when all government buildings remain open to provide floor space and public restrooms until there is a resolve.


unusualsuspect

“not the minority” That, absolutely is not accurate. “government buildings remain open to provide floor space and public restrooms” That’s basically what a shelter is… It would be totally impractical to have people living in gov buildings where daily business is being conducted… That plan, is no plan at all.