Your Rights When Camping in Colorado
If you’re planning a camping trip in Colorado, there are several things that you need to know about your rights. First, you need to know what Colorado’s state and federal laws protect. You can’t just camp anywhere you want. Some cities have camping ordinances that prevent you from visiting certain places. This can be unconstitutional.
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City of Lone Tree’s camping ban is unconstitutional
The Colorado Municipal League does not maintain a list of municipalities that ban camping on their public property, but several local governments in the Front Range have similar prohibitions. These include Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Parker. In June, Parker passed a law that prohibits camping on public property without a permit.
A judge in the Denver District Court reversed a decision by a county court judge, but that decision is unlikely to affect the city’s enforcement of the ban. Police officers continue to cite those who camp illegally and arrest those who refuse to take down their tents.
City of Highlands Ranch’s camping ban is unconstitutional
According to an ACLU-sponsored lawsuit, the City of Highlands Ranch’s camping ban violates the Constitution and the rights of campers. The city passed a law prohibiting overnight camping on city property. Since the ban went into effect in mid-2012, police officers have contacted over 23,800 people during street checks and have issued 235 written warnings and 33 citations. There have been three arrests, but the vast majority of people comply with police requests to remove their tents and sleeping bags.
But that’s not the end of the story. The city’s legal team is pursuing an appeal of the ruling. The appeal will be decided by a higher court, but it could take several months or even a year before the court rules. In the meantime, the camping ban will remain in place until the case is resolved.
City of Aurora’s new camping ordinance
The City of Aurora will soon be the latest Colorado city to ban urban camping. City council members voted 6-5 to pass an ordinance banning the encampments. The ordinance also requires a 72-hour notice to disperse the encampment. Homeless people must have a shelter where they can stay during the encampment.
The new ordinance also includes a policy for storing valuable items in the city. City staff must develop a policy for the storage of personal property, including the location of storage and accessibility of storage facilities. In addition, the city manager must provide an annual report to city council detailing how much city staff time and money is spent enforcing the ordinance and removing camps.
City of Northglenn’s temporary housing program
The City of Northglenn’s temporary homeless housing program is designed to provide a safe, supportive environment for homeless individuals. The program will offer short-term accommodations for up to 25 people during the winter. Referrals from community partners would provide the means for 20 individuals to apply for short-term accommodations, while five spots would be reserved for Northglenn Police Department referrals. In addition, the program will help residents find local resources and reunify with their families. It will also assist with medical and behavioral urgent care, as well as emergency and longer-term housing options.
The City of Northglenn’s temporary homeless housing program was approved by the council on Dec. 7. The program will operate from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday. The program will be staffed by the Denver Rescue Mission and funded by Adams County.
City of Thornton’s new camping ordinance
The City of Thornton has recently introduced a new camping ordinance. The ordinance is aimed at preventing camping in public spaces, including parkways and open spaces. The town is divided into zones, and a zoning map will be filed with the Town Clerk and Grafton County Registry of Deeds. The town falls under the Rural Residence Zone, which includes all land except for the White Mountain National Forest. It also prohibits the maintenance of structures and encroachment or obstruction on public property.
The new ordinance would include penalties for illegal camping, including fines and jail time. It would also require people to have a designated shelter space. Violations would be punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, and they could also spend up to 90 days in jail. A second time infraction would be a misdemeanor. The fine would be suspended on the first offense but would be imposed for the second offense, third and fourth offenses. A fifth time would result in a fine of $1,500.