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Aurora mayor revamps plan for controversial camping ban proposal

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman on Tuesday announced two significant changes to the city’s proposed urban camping ban ordinance.

The first change Coffman proposed would reduce the notice requirement before an encampment can be removed from seven days down to 72 hours. The notice time could be extended during extreme weather conditions.

The new ordinance would also require Aurora’s city manager to identify designated sites where people experiencing homelessness could stay in their own tent or receive shelter options such as a hotel voucher.

“I get lots of complaints from business owners who are located close to encampments about property crimes as well as their concern about the risks associated with encampment fires,” Coffman said in a statement.

Coffman also pushed for a camping ban last year, but city council failed to pass the ordinance. He pledged to reintroduce the ordinance following the November election, when conservative-leaning candidates picked up seats on city council.

According to a recent report, there were more than 12,000 people experiencing homelessness in the Denver metro area last year, a total that has increased every year since 2016.

Councilmember Alison Coombs, Ward V, pointed to Denver’s legal issues surrounding its camping ban.

“The ordinance remains a bad idea, one that has failed in other places where it’s been implemented,” Coombs told The Center Square. “Just look at Denver and see how well it’s worked out for them.”

In a pair of Denver cases – Burton v. City and County of Denver and Lyall v. City and County of Denver – the 10th District Court ruled that city authorities must give at least seven days’ notice before clearing an encampment.

“The homeless encampments that have popped up along our highways, in neighborhoods, and next to businesses create serious public health and safety issues for our community,” said Councilmember Dustin Zvonek, who represents an at-large district. “It’s time we ban these camps, clean up our city, and offer a better solution.”

The ordinance will be introduced during a study session on Feb. 14 and could go before the full city council for a vote as early as Feb. 28.

This article was originally posted on Aurora mayor revamps plan for controversial camping ban proposal

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