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City of Livermore Camping Ordinance Information

February 21, 2014

City of Livermore Camping Ordinance FAQ

On February 10, 2014 the City of Livermore adopted an ordinance banning camping in public places.  In order to best inform the community, the City offers these answers to common questions about the ordinance.


1.    
What is the camping ordinance?

The ordinance is a regulation that prohibits camping on public property and private property with a public access easement. The ordinance adds Chapter 12.65 of Title 12 of the Municipal Code.


2.    
Why does the City need the ordinance?

Camping in areas not intended for these purposes presents public health and safety hazards including fire dangers and sanitary risks associated with inadequate restroom facilities.  Camping near creeks, streams, and other waterways puts the campers in potential danger (in cases of flooding) and leads to public water sources being contaminated by human waste. Pollution can also be damaging to the local environmental of the City.

Additionally, occupying public spaces for camping prevents members of the community from enjoying these areas as they are designated to be used. Streets and public areas in Livermore need to be accessible and available to the public for biking, walking, and other recreation.


3.    
Does the ordinance make all camping illegal?

No.  The ordinance prohibits camping on public property and private property with public access easement without a permit. The ordinance does not make camping illegal in areas designated for camping or on private property with the owner’s permission. Individuals may also camp on public property if they obtain a special event permit.

 
4.     What happens if someone violates the ordinance?

Like many other City enforcement efforts, the City tries to seek voluntary compliance, and issues citations only when other efforts have failed. The City will work with individual campers to identify services available to help them with their unique circumstances and bring them into compliance with the ordinance

When other efforts do not work, violators may receive a fine not to exceed $100.00 for a first offense. Multiple violations are punishable by a fine not to exceed $300.00 and/or imprisonment in the county jail for a maximum of 30 days.


5.    
How will the ordinance be enforced?

At the February 10th City Council meeting, the Council directed staff to present draft implementation guidelines at the next Council meeting scheduled for February 24th. The ordinance becomes effective March 12,, 2014. However, at the direction of the City Council, the City will not issue citations until after the homeless summit takes place.

 
6
.     Does the ordinance make homelessness illegal?

No. The ordinance targets behavior, not people. It does not make it illegal to be homeless and it does not cut existing services to the homeless population.


7.    
Weren’t there already laws in place to handle illegal behavior associated with camping?

 Yes, the City has a number of laws to prevent illegal behavior associated with camping. However, before adoption of the ordinance, the City did not have a law in place prohibiting camping on public property. Even absent of other illegal behavior, the dangers of camping present health and safety risks.


8.    
Do other places have similar laws?

 Many cities and districts across the country have laws banning camping on public property. In the Tri-Valley, the City of Pleasanton, the City of Dublin, the City of San Ramon, the Town of Danville, and the Livermore Area and Recreation and Parks District (LARPD) have similar ordinances prohibiting camping on public property.

 
9.    
What services are available to homeless people in Livermore?

Livermore has a number of community organizations dedicated to serving Livermore’s homeless population. Community organizations including Shepard’s Gate, Tri-Valley Haven the Homeless Refuge, the Open Heart Kitchen, and Abode Services all provide services to the homeless population in Livermore.

 Through grant funding, the City of Livermore provides financial support for a number of services designed to help the homeless population including the Homeless Prevention Program, the Homeless Housing Bonus program, the HOPE Van, and the Tri-Valley Haven shelter programs.

Click here for more information on housing resources available in Livermore.

 
10.  The City has stated that there is an upcoming summit on homelessness. When will details of this event be available?

 The City is in the process of planning a summit on homelessness that will bring together local, regional, and federal agencies, service providers and members of the community to find ways to best serve the City’s homeless population. Staff will present a progress report on the City’s efforts at the March 10th City Council Meeting. The City website will be updated to share information on the summit.


For more information, contact Housing & Human Services at (925) 960-4580