Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Town hall to focus on proposed Colorado Springs creekside camping ban

June 11, 2018 Updated: June 12, 2018 at 6:04 am
0
Caption +
The homeless that currently reside behind Rocky Top Resources are being asked to leave by the latest Friday morning as they begin to clean up their items on Tuesday April 3, 2018 in Colorado Springs. (Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).

A proposed ban on creekside camping, which has divided the Colorado Springs City Council, will be the focus of a town hall Thursday.

The public event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave., with a presentation by city officials and a chance to comment.

The council is to vote on the proposal June 26.

Councilmen Tom Strand and Merv Bennett proposed the ordinance last month in an effort to reduce E. coli and trash in the city's waterways.

They called it a public health imperative amid increasing scrutiny by state and federal regulators of the area's surface water quality.

But advocates for homeless people, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, deem it a misguided approach to addressing homelessness.

The proposal would affect countless homeless campers, and the ACLU has suggested the city instead focus on addressing the area's affordable housing shortage.

The proposal would ban camping within 100 feet of the city's waterways, including Fountain and Monument creeks, as well as concrete drainage ditches. A violator would face up to $2,500 in fines and 180 days in jail, on probation or both.

A city law already bans camping on public property.

The difference would be in enforcement. Under the proposed law, police would not have to ensure that shelter beds are open before issuing a summons, said city spokeswoman Kim Melchor.

But whether homeless people are to blame for the waterways' unhealthy E. coli levels remains uncertain.

A study about 10 years ago found that migratory birds were responsible for the elevated bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever, as well as kidney failure and death in extreme cases.

Subsequent research suggested urban and suburban areas, livestock and wastewater treatment systems may be responsible as well.

A project is underway to narrow the possible sources of contamination. But it will not focus on the biochemistry of the fecal matter, leaving unanswered the question of whether homeless campers are to blame.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

or
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 

Exclusive Subscriber Content

You read The Gazette because you care about your community and the local stories you can't find anywhere else.

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber? Get Access | Already a digital subscriber? Log In
 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.