Dueling Camping Bans on Tap at City Council

Special called meeting next week to resolve issue

Dueling Camping Bans on Tap at City Council
Photo by Jana Birchum

New public camping restrictions will be con­sidered in two proposed ordinances at a special called Council meeting next week. The first one, drafted by Council Members Kathie Tovo and Ann Kitchen (and now co-sponsored by CMs Leslie Pool and Alison Alter), would prohibit camping, sitting, or lying on some streets altogether – including Congress Avenue, Sixth Street, East 11th and 12th streets, and parts of West Campus between MLK and 29th. Camping along "safe routes to school" would also be included in the proposal's prohibitions.

The second proposal, from Mayor Steve Adler and CM Greg Casar, was released shortly after Tovo and Kitchen's, and does not prohibit camping on specific streets. Instead, it clarifies what a prohibited encampment looks like: anything that does not provide a four- to five-foot "clear zone" along a "sidewalk, shared use path, or trail" would be considered in violation of the ordinance. An idea specifically from Adler would designate particular roadways with high volumes of pedestrian traffic – such as some blocks along Congress and Guadalupe – as subject to recently adopted rules governing parking for micro-mobility devices (e.g., scooters).

Both proposals agree that limitations should be placed on camping at transit stops, on sloped areas underneath highways, in flood plains, and near existing and future shelters offering homelessness services. Casar and Adler's proposal defines a radius for prohibiting camping around shelters (three blocks within the Central Business District and around the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, and a quarter- to half-mile in the rest of the city). Tovo and Kitchen's proposal would also limit camping around shelters, but does not define an exact radius.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Austin City Council
Former Council Member Don Zimmerman Sues to Travel Back in Time
Former Council Member Don Zimmerman Sues to Travel Back in Time
Suit alleges new abortion support funding would violate Pre-Roe state law

Austin Sanders, Sept. 20, 2019

City Council Aims to Calibrate Camping Rules
City Council Aims to Calibrate Camping Rules
Three-phased approach reflects growing consensus on dais

Austin Sanders, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Austin Sanders
Don Zimmerman Files Suit Against City Over Abortion Services Funding
Don Zimmerman Files Suit Against City Over Abortion Services Funding
It's unclear if the former council member remembers Roe v. Wade

Sept. 12, 2019

City, Austin FC Break Ground on New Soccer Stadium
City, Austin FC Break Ground on New Soccer Stadium
Construction of the 21,000-seat stadium has kicked off for Austin’s first major league sports team

Sept. 13, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Public camping restrictions, Austin City Council, Kathie Tovo, Ann Kitchen, Leslie Pool, Alison Alter, Congress Avenue, Sixth Street, East 11th Street, East 12th Street, West Campus, Steve Adler, Greg Casar, Central Business District, Austin Resource Center for the Homeless

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Time to vote! Best of Austin 2019 balloting is underway   VOTE NOW