LIVERMORE -- Livermore would effectively ban homeless encampments with passage of a proposed ordinance aimed at restricting overnight camping.
The Livermore City Council will consider introducing the ordinance at its Monday meeting. The ordinance would ban tents and makeshift shelters on public property, or private property with a public right-of-way.
First time violators would be subject to civil infractions and fines of $100 or less. Subsequent offenses would be misdemeanors punishable by jail time and/or a fine of up to $300.
The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Ave.
Livermore mayor John Marchand conceived of the ordinance. The arroyos and creek beds where some encampments are located, Marchand said, are the city's groundwater recharge, and must have restrictions on human activities. Furthermore, he said, encampments have also attracted aggressive behavior, litter, and alcohol and drug use.
"It's a tool we need to ensure public health and safety and to direct these people to resources that can help them," Marchand said, adding that the homeless problem can't be solved by any one city.
"You can't police yourself out of homelessness," he said. "It's got to be a regional solution."
Livermore assistant city manager Troy Brown said the ordinance isn't to punish the homeless, but to address health and safety issues caused by camping near waterways and other public areas.
"We're not going after any particular people," Brown said. "What we're trying to do is correct a behavior."
A staff report says the city has gotten complaints from residents worried about noise, trash, health and vegetation impacts from encampments in arroyos and near established neighborhoods.
Bob McKenzie, who runs the Livermore Homeless Refuge with his wife Donna, said the rule wouldn't have much effect beyond angering the local homeless.
"The idea that they can shut down encampments and cause the homeless people to go away... That's just not going to happen," he said. "Three to five days later, they'll be right back there."
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.