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Published on Friday, March 17, 2017

Homeless encampments hosted by religious organizations

SB 5657 was heard in the House Community Development and Housing Committee on March 15. The bill would preempt many authorities that cities have to regulate homeless encampments hosted by religious organizations.

Cities expressed the following concerns that the bill:

  • Puts greater limitations on permit fees such as excluding overhead costs from fees and prohibitions against creating burdens for applicants.
  • Provides a new restriction on a city’s ability to limit the length of a temporary encampment that is inconsistent with at least five cities who have negotiated agreements with their own faith community.
  • Limits the ability of cities to consider the community impact of simultaneous hostings by multiple religious organizations.
  • Makes it the duty of cities to pay for sex offender checks of vehicle residents.
  • Authorizes temporary small houses without defining their size, permitting, or articulating how they would hook up to sewer or other infrastructure.
  • Provides the blanket requirement to authorize safe parking without consideration for type of vehicle, as some cities are currently considering (RVs vs. passenger vehicles).
  • Does not provide any grandfathering for ordinances or consent decrees that are already in place.
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