Council adds restrictions to camping, sit/lie ordinances

Talk 1370 Newsroom
October 18, 2019 - 9:00 am
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AUSTIN (Talk1370.com) -- Austin's City Council passed new restrictions Thursday night to the city's camping and sit/lie ordinances.

The new restrictions, passed on a 7-4 vote, will go into effect in 10 days. Camping will again be prohibited on sidewalks, in situations where a person is endangering themselves, or where a person is making a public area impassable or hazardous.

Sitting, lying, and camping will also be restricted in front of the ARCH and the Salvation Army shelter in the downtown area, and within a quarter mile of shelters located outside of the downtown area; within 15 feet of the door of an operating business during business hours, or a residence; and in the city's high wildfire risk areas.

The ability to camp under highway overpasses remains unchanged. Other proposals left on the table included camping on street medians, ADA ramps, and within 5 feet of creek or river banks.

Dozens of speakers encouraged the council to restore the camping ban as it was prior to its repeal in June, including Austin Police Chief Brian Manley. In addition to public outcry, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been putting pressure on the council to act, saying he will call in state resources to deal with the problem if city officials didn't act.

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