Will Manteca take a page out of Tracy’s homeless playbook?
Tracy is looking at tweaking its ordinances governing the use of parks and rules regarding camping.
The rules Tracy is looking at adding reference occupying a camp, car, trailer and erecting and/or occupying a tent with no regards to housing status.
In such situations Tracy is proposing to make it illegal to do any of the previous mentioned activities within:
*1,000 feet of any public government building, school, day care center, homeless shelter, recreational facility, park playground, or sports field.
*10 feet of any fence located on public or private properties.
*20 feet of a driveway.
*5 feet of any building entrance or exit.
*2 feet of any fire hydrant.
*An area that obstructs or interferes with an activity for which the city has issued a permit.
Those changes are among other points of discussion the City of Tracy Homeless Advisory Committee will address when they meet Monday, Aug. 22, at Tracy’s City Hall council chambers.
The changes listed previously — as well as several points that encompasses what Manteca incorporated years ago into its ordinances dealing with parks and the subject of camping are designed to provide reasonable and enforceable rules for that city to use.
Tracy — like Manteca and virtually every other city in the 9th District that includes California, Hawaii, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Montana, and Oregon — is walking a tight rope.
Tracy is also pursuing a homeless navigation center like Manteca is doing in order to help the homeless get off the street and to step up enforcement against those that refuse to do so.
The proposed changes are reasonable as defined by court rulings because they are based on safety exceptions that can be carved out. As such they are likely to be upheld by the courts such as the ban against encampments and such within 1,000 feet of a school.
There are several locations where such rule changes would benefit Manteca.
The highest profile example is around Manteca High.
This past summer people living in an old bus and RVs parked for days along Moffat Boulevard within 1,000 feet of the campus.
Homeless also have set up encampments near the eastern edge of the Manteca High campus over the years.
Some cities have gone as far as to ban camping by the homeless along designated safe routes to school.
If Manteca did that it could make possible for police to legally roust the homeless who will camp long the Tidewater between Industrial Park Drive and Sherman Avenue where students living south of the 120 Bypass.
Manteca, thanks to a class action lawsuit settlement that avoided what could have been hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation cost, years ago adopted ordinance changes dealing with use of parks and illegal camping in general so it wouldn’t specifically target homeless to pass constitutional muster.
The City of Manteca also fashioned an ordinance adhering to court rulings that the homeless as human beings had to be allowed to sleep. That’s where the 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. carve out came from for using public places for sleeping except what areas are closed to the general public, locations that compromised safe public passage such as allowing adequate room for pedestrians to pass on sidewalks, and a few carve out exceptions as the courts allowed.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org