CHICO – Changes to Chico’s municipal code will be presented to council at Tuesday’s meeting, recommending changes to the language used as well as new additions. In turn, this could offer the city the opportunity to resume anti-camping ordinances.
Currently, Chico is subject to a preliminary injunction pursuant to Judge Morrison England’s order banning any anti-camping orders until a resolution of Warren v. Chico is reached.
The amendments are presented to council by City Attorney Vincent Ewing and read as follows: âAmendments to ordinances specify when, where and how the execution against unprotected persons may take place, in accordance with (Martin v. Boise). This in turn provides sufficient justification for seeking the rescission of the current temporary prohibition order. ”
The modifications will relate to titles 9: Peace, public security and morals; 12: Parks: and 12R: Rules and regulations for Bidwell Park and other parks and playgrounds.
A notable addition to the municipal code will be in the definitions section, reading as “to clarify which people are not subject to the application unless accommodation space for that person is available.”
Several sections will also possibly be revised to clarify that the application of the law will not be applied against people not staying when accommodation space is not available.
A significant new addition would include section 9.20.070. This article would provide a guideline on what police officers should do before arresting a homeless person. According to the report, officers should verbally inform homeless people of the space available in a shelter and offer additional resources, including transportation to an available shelter.
“What it seems they mean is, ‘OK, we are not in violation of Martin V. Boise because we no longer have these terms in effect. We changed it, âsaid Marty Dunlap, lawyer and member of Concerned Citizens For Justice. âItâs really a play on words. Even though the judge was very clear in his response to the city attorney, they don’t seem to really digest this and take it seriously. ”
Dunlap added that while Judge Morrison England led both sides in court work with Examining Magistrate Kendall J. Newman, the changes could only serve to find a loophole for the city.
âSo what they’re trying to do is change the orders that have been put in place that have been found to be a violation of Martin V. Boise, and try to make them work,â Dunlap said. . “It seems like it’s basically about making it work so that they can continue the evictions.”
Municipal lawyer Vincent Ewing did not respond to a request for comment.
Other changes include an expanded brief on what will be considered available shelter space. Shelters will be considered if: they are open and have beds available; it is located within the city limits; and if a family is being considered, the shelter is open and accessible and the space of the shelter requires adult men and women to sleep separately.
Shelters will not be considered if: a family needs to be split into two or more different shelter spaces; the individual would not be allowed access to the refuge space due to restrictions, rules or commitments beyond its use or control; or the refuge space requires compulsory participation in a program or is a prerequisite for accessing or using the refuge space.
The city has been the subject of a preliminary injunction ordered by England since July 8, which replaced the temporary restraining order issued on April 11.
City council will vote on the city code changes on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the city council chamber at 421 Main Street. The vote will follow the swearing-in of new Councilors Mike O’Brien (As an Individual) and Dale Bennett (District 3).