Spokane Valley City Council unanimously voted to ban camping at City Hall, Center Place and Balfour Park and bar it on other public lands, as long as there is space at regional shelters, during their Tuesday night meeting.
The new law prohibits people from camping in vehicles, such as RVs, in the right of way or on public property. The city would not enforce the ordinance when there are no beds available in regional shelters, which it helps pay for through an agreement with Spokane County.
During a presentation before City Council, Deputy City Attorney Erik Lamb said enforcement is the city’s last resort and that it has been talking with nonprofits about sending outreach teams first.
“We aren’t going to go in on day one and start kicking people out,” he said.
During the meeting, several members of the community also asked city leaders to look into starting a shelter in Spokane Valley. The city has no homeless shelters currently.
City Council also approved new park rules during the meeting, which would close parks at 7 p.m. in the winter and 9 p.m. in the summer and would regulate or ban some activities, such as golfing in city parks.
Every council member except Sam Wood voted in favor of these new rules. Wood said the city should have consistent park hours to make it easier on constituents.
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