Christopher Rosacker
crosacker@theunion.com

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November 8, 2012
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Permits for homeless, other campers proposed in Nevada City


Police in Nevada City recommended that city officials approve a permitting process to regulate people staying on public property — namely homeless individuals.

“The homelessness issue has taken center stage around our camping ordinance, and I not representing Nevada City to take the lead in solving this controversial issue, but to recognize a few who live in Nevada City and whom have made the life decision of homelessness,” said Police Chief Jim Wickham in a report to the Nevada City Council, which will take up the proposal at their Nov. 14 meeting.

If implemented, the department would only dole out six to 15 permits, initially, that would allow people to stay on approved public property for a probationary 15-day period. If the permitted individual demostrated compliance, the permit can be extended to 90 days.

Permitting would be a joint process between police and members of the community, with downtown police beat Officer Shane Franssen, police Chaplin Toby Nelson and Jeff Dupra, who is Hospitality House’s outreach coordinator.

Dupra, who is garnering local renown for his outreach work, would visit the proposed campsites or other kinds of proposed areas to determine if the location meet the health, safety and adequate shelter criteria, Wickham noted in his report.

Wickham also proposes that the permitting program itself be on a six-month trial basis.

Currently Nevada City has no ordinance to prohibit individuals from effectively making a plot of public property their permanent home, notes Wickham in his report to the council.

“This becomes problematic for law enforcement to address safety, health and crime concerns residents speak of when individuals are found on public property unchecked,” Wickham wrote in his report to the council.

“This is compounded when homelessness, crime, substance abuse and mental illness becomes a set of components everyone assumes is related to the issue at hand,” Wickham said.

To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email crosacker@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4236.

Permitting would be a joint process between police and members of the community ...


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The Union Updated Nov 16, 2012 12:06PM Published Nov 10, 2012 07:55AM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.