Placer County introduces new camping ordinance
Published March 9, 2022
AUBURN, Calif. -- The Placer County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the introduction of a new camping ordinance Tuesday.
The new ordinance entitled Camping and Personal Property Storage on County Property and Public Areas is intended to regulate camping and storage on county property.
The new ordinance regulates where camping and storage on county public property are permitted. Camping by necessity would be allowed when suitable shelter is not available with rules included in the ordinance to ensure the health and safety of employees, the public as well as those camping. “Clean and clear” of an existing campsite is permissible based on health and sanitation needs and subject to prior noticing. Many individuals providing public comments suggested a “safe camping site” for the homeless be added to the ordinance. The same is not expressly identified in the ordinance but is not precluded from a policy perspective and based on the ordinance’s definition of “available shelter”.
“We stand ready to help serve these people in whatever capacity is needed. It’s important to show compassion while we set rules and I support the idea of a safe camping area in the interim,” said Board Chair and District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “We have a task force of elected leaders meeting regularly to discuss these issues countywide and I recommend we put together a community task force made up of county partners, including faith-based organizations and the unsheltered, to help further inform this complicated human problem.”
The ordinance is anticipated to return to the board for consideration of adoption on the March 22, 2022, agenda. If adopted, it will go into effect thirty days after the date of adoption. County representatives plan to develop an implementation task force comprised of staff from the county’s Code Compliance, Environmental Health, Public Works, Adult System of Care, Facility Services, Animal Services, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Placer County Fire Department and Probation Department to develop a plan for implementation of the provisions of the ordinance.
“This is really a challenging issue and there is no perfect solution but this ordinance is a tool to help us meet the needs of the public and that includes the unsheltered,” said District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore. “We have a public safety issue at the Placer County Government Center in Auburn and if we do not address it now the problem will grow. This is not the end of the conversation, it is the beginning. We have much work to do but we are committed to finding more effective solutions.”