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West Bountiful City Council passes new no-camping ordinance

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jun 04, 2024

WEST BOUNTIFUL, Utah — As the weather warms up, homelessness can become more visible in our communities.

“We started to see a little bit more of that transient population kind of flowing from city to city, and we've had some experiences with, we'll call a little bit more of an obstinate type of group,” said Chief Brandon Erekson with West Bountiful Police.

The West Bountiful City Council recently passed a rule prohibiting sleeping and camping on public land in the city.

“It is geared towards really trying to focus and send people towards the services side of things if they're experiencing homelessness, but on an enforcement end it provides us a mechanism, that way if we have somebody that's not really willing to go,” said Chief Erekson.

There is an exception to the ordinance that allows people to "camp out" ahead of city events like parades, he said.

“There is a section in there that addresses that, and that is one of the exceptions where technically it would be allowed,” said Erekson.

In addition to this new ordinance, West Bountiful also updated its parking laws. Vehicles can't be parked on the street for more than 48 hours.

“The main complaints that we were getting would be, like, large trailers being left,” said Erekson. “We have some semis that were being parked on the roadway and left for extended periods.

Ryan Steinbeigle, the grants administrator for Davis County, is not confident that this will force those living in their vehicles away from the city.

“What I found in talking to the people that we found living in their cars is they tend to move from location to location,” he said. “So if there was an ordinance, for example, that prohibited a car being in a single location for 48 hours, I imagined they just take the car and move it to somewhere else.”

Steinbeigle says the county is still working on plans to create a homeless shelter.

“The Davis County Winter Overflow Task Force continues to work on a plan for homelessness in Davis County,” he said. “A Code Blue response plan has to be submitted to the state by August 1.”

A violation of West Bountiful’s new no-camping ordinance could result in a misdemeanor.