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Charlotte City Council postpones discussion on banning camping on city property

The controversial ordinance stems from a North Carolina law that went into effect in December 2021.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte City Council at its Monday meeting decided to postpone the discussion of banning camping on city property to its next strategy session. The controversial ordinance stems from a North Carolina law that went into effect in December 2021. 

Opponents to the ordinance allege it was targeting homeless persons when it was first proposed, which said a violation would result in jail time on top of a fine. Many said that sort of punishment would make it even harder for people to secure housing.

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Charlotte has a history with camping bans, including when the Democratic National Convention was held in the Queen City in 2012. Back in February 2012 when the Occupy movement was prominent, Mecklenburg County commissioners unanimously voted to extend the prohibition against camping at park and recreation sites to cover all county properties. The move was, in part, to prevent expected protesters from setting up tents during the political convention in September. 

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Monday's agenda for the meeting stated a violation of the camping ordinance would result in a $500 fine and would not include jail time. Council will discuss the enforcement now at the April strategy session. 

Many other areas of the country have tried to enact camping bans, such as Idaho, Colorado, Oregon, California and Texas, with mixed success.

The council has nearly two dozen ordinances it was looking to reinstate, including certain noise violations, fire code violations and firearm shooting restrictions without city limits. At Monday's meeting, council voted to start enforcing eight other ordinances. 

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.  

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