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Proposed Ordinance Against People Who Have No Safe Place to Rest In Denver Outlawing Camping in Denver: Council people ROBB, FAATZ, BROWN, BROOKS and NEVITT are Sponsors

March 27, 2012

“I am weary and I cannot lie down and rest,  I am weary and cannot lie down and rest until I’m done.  I will not lie down and rest until there is a place for me. I cannot lie down and rest as long as there is injustice. I cannot rest.”


This will be introduced in the Business Affairs committee on Wednesday.


Below is the link to today’s Denver Post article on the proposed camping ordinance:


Denver targets illegal camping; critics call it a bid to criminalize homelessness

Read more: Denver targets illegal camping; critics call it a bid to criminalize homelessness – The Denver Post
Read The Denver Post’s Terms of Use of its content:


City Councilman Albus Brooks is ready to release the ordinance on Monday at the City Council meeting.  The  Council can move this ordinance through the committee to third reading and final passage in a week.



We need you to call the Council Representatives and make your voices heard as constituents:


District 1 – Susan K. Shepherd

District 2 – Jeanne Faatz

District 3 – Paul D. López

District 4 – Peggy Lehmann (Council President Pro Tem)

District 5 – Mary Beth Susman

District 6 – Charlie Brown

District 7 – Chris Nevitt (Council President)

District 8 – Albus Brooks

District 9 – Judy H. Montero

District 10 – Jeanne Robb

District 11 – Christopher Herndon

At Large – Robin Kniech

At Large – Deborah (Debbie) Ortega


We need your presence at City Council Monday night and from here on out until the onerous ordinance is approved or rejected.  Please make time to call the Mayor’s office.


Negative Impacts of an “Urban Camping Ban

This ban is the eleventh such restriction of people who have no adequate place to be safe.

Already, a sitting and lying ban exists and people who have stayed in the mainstream of the byways of the city have been unable to find refuge.  There is nowhere for them to go except in the alleys, doorways, neighborhoods, on private land and in places where they are hidden.  The ordinance will increase court costs, citations, jail, and create further economic stress for the City, as well as surrounding communities. Instead of preventing homelessness we will be making it harder for the annual 30% newly homeless to move on with their lives they will emerge from this with barriers to both employment and housing. 


Call and come, keep informed.  Call 303 285 5223 and ask about ways you can help!

Please read the ordinance that prohibits lying down and resting when you’re weary in the City and County of Denver that five counsel persons endorsed:  Nevitt, Brown, Robb, Faatz and Brooks>  CALL THEM and ask them if they’ve ever been weary and needed to lie down and rest?

Executive Summary


Proposed city-wide ordinance to prohibit unauthorized camping

Many cities and towns throughout the United States have adopted ordinances that prohibit unauthorized camping on public and private property. While camping restrictions have sometimes been subjected to legal challenges, state and federal courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court) have generally upheld laws prohibiting the act ofcamping on public property without a permit or other proper authorization. As recently as last year, the District Court in Boulder County upheld a Boulder ordinance prohibiting camping on any public property in that city. Also, in the last six months a number of federal district courts around the country have upheld local no-camping ordinances and similar laws in litigation arising out ofthe Occupy Wall Street movement.

Municipal ordinances prohibiting unauthorized camping are adopted under the police power and are justified on the basis of protecting the health, safety and general welfare of the public. It is appropriate to prohibit camping upon property which is not intended or designed to be used for that purpose because: (1) it creates an unsafe and potentially disorderly environment for the persons engaged in the camping as well as persons coming into contact with the campers;

(2) it creates unsanitary and unhealthful conditions that may affect both the campers and the general public; (3) it tends to degrade or even destroy the property upon which the camping is occurring, particularly where the encampment is large and ongoing; and (4) it detracts from the use ofthe property for its intended purpose.

As explained below, there are currently a number ofother state and city laws regulating the unauthorized use of public and private property generally. However, Denver has no existing law which specifically and directly prohibits the act ofunauthorized camping on a city-wide basis. The proposed ordinance will do so, defining the word “camping” to include any temporary habitation on public or private property accompanied by the use ofany form of shelter from the elements. The proposed ordinance would not prohibit the mere act of sleeping on public or private property.

Note: The proposed ordinance includes special provisions which limit the authority of the police to cite or arrest anyone for violating the ordinance before: (A) issuing verbal and written warnings; and (B) invoking the assistance ofa human services outreach. worker to assess the needs ofthe camper. These limitations are identical to the provisions ofthe 2005 ((sit-lie” ordinance which restrict the act ofsitting or lying on the sUrface ofstreets and sidewalks in the downtown area.


The following is a list of other related state and city laws that are already on the books:

• Denver ordinances currently prohibit the act ofunauthorized “camping” and overnight sleeping only “in or upon any park, parkway, mountain park, or other recreational facility.” § 39-7, D.RM.C. Denver parks are also subject to an overnight curfew in any event, without regard to whether or not a person may technically be “camping.” § 39-3, D.R.M.C.

• Other existing state and city laws, without specifically mentioning the act ofcamping, may be interpreted to apply to persons who would camp on public property, particularly when camping would interfere with the use ofthe public property by others. For example:

  • o City law prohibits any and all unauthorized “encumbrances” on streets and sidewalks. § 49-246, D.RM.C.
  • o State and city laws prohibit any obstruction ofany street or sidewalk (“to render impassable or to render passage unreasonably inconvenient or hazardous”). § 38­86, D.R.M.C.
  • o It is generally unlawful to trespass on private property for the purpose ofcamping or any other purpose without the consent of the owner. § 38-115, D.RM.C.
  • o It is also unlawful to trespass on public property whenever the property has been “closed” and notice of the closure is given with signs. § 38-86, D.R.M.C. (This law has been used to prohibit overnight camping and sleeping on the grounds of the City and County Building.)
  • o Under state law, it is generally unlawful to conduct any activity on public property in violation ofany rule or regulation promulgated by “any officer or agency having the power ofcontrol, management or supervision ofthe building or property.” § 18-9-117, C.RS.
  • In 2005 Denver adopted an ordinance generally prohibiting the act of sitting or lying on the surface of the public right-of-way in the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District only, and only between the hours of7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. § 38-86.1, D.RM.C. No existing city ordinance specifically addresses overnight camping or sleeping on public property in the downtown area.





(171) Case law annotation-Violation of an ordinance which is of the counterpart of a criminal statute should be tried and punished under the protection appHcable to criminal cases even though prosecuted in a municipal court. Zerobnick v. Denver. 139 Colo. 139,337 P. 2d 11 (1959)

(171) Cross reference-Court Ch. 14; environmental tobacco smoka control. § 24-301 et seq.; offenses affecting minors. § 34-41 at seq.; offenses by minors, § 34-61 et seq., nuisances generally, Ch. 37; police, Ch. 42; traffic regulations. Ch. 54.







Denver. Colorado, Code of Ordinances

Page 1 of 1




For an ordinance prohibiting unauthorized camping on public or private property

WHEREAS, the act of unauthorized camping on public or private property tends to endanger the health and safety of those engaged in such camping as well as the public at large; and

WHEREAS, the unauthorized use of public or private property for camping where the property in question is neither intended nor designed as a camp site, campground, or site for temporary human habitation tends to impair, obstruct, and otherwise detract from the use of the property for its intended purpose.


Section 1. That Article III of Chapter 38, D.R.M.C. shall be amended by adding a new section 38-86.1, to read as follows:

Sec. 38-86.1. -Unauthorized camping on public or private property prohibited.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to camp upon any private property without the express written consent of the property owner or the owner’s agent, and only in such locations where camping may be conducted in accordance with any other applicable city law.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to camp upon any public property except in any location where camping has been expressly allowed by the officer or agency having the control, management and supervision of the public property in question.




1 enforcement officers as provided in subsection (c), regardless of whether the person 2 is an employee of the department of human services. 3 4 (3) “Public property” means, by way of illustration, any street, alley, sidewalk, pedestrian 5 or transit mall, bike path, greenway, or any other structure or area encompassed 6 within the public right-of-way; any park, parkway, mountain park, or other recreation 7 facility; or any other grounds, buildings, or other facilities owned or leased by the City 8 or by any other public owner, regardless of whether such public property is vacant or 9 occupied and actively used for any public purpose.

__________________________________________ -PRESIDENT


24 Pursuant to section 13-12, D.R.M.C., this proposed ordinance has been reviewed by the office of the 25 City Attorney. We find no irregularity as to form, and have no legal objection to the proposed 26 ordinance. The proposed ordinance is not submitted to the City Council for approval pursuant to §


_ ___C ity Atto rney



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