Sammamish releases first draft of homeless camp regulations
May 5, 2014
By Ari Cetron
New: May 5, 3:11 p.m.
Homeless camps would still be allowed in Sammamish, but under a set of regulations that would spread the camp around the city and ensure it only happens for up to half of the year.
Just before Tent City IV left Sammamish in January after a three-month stay, the Sammamish City Council established a temporary ban on homeless encampments. The council then handed the issue to the planning commission to establish a set of regulations governing homeless camps.
Taking cues from other nearby jurisdictions, the new regulations state the camps must be sponsored by a religious institution and cannot be in the same place twice within 18 months. In addition, there can only be one homeless camp in the city at a time, and only two may be in the city within a year.
As is typical of Tent City, the camp can only be in one place for three months, although it may be permitted up to five more days to allow for moving in and moving out.
Prior to the camp moving in, members of the camp, in conjunction with the hosting location, must hold a public meeting with nearby neighbors, and with officials from any public or private school or daycare within 500 feet of the proposed site.
The camp is not allowed to displace the religious institution’s parking, and the sponsors must present a plan for how the camp residents will be able to access public transportation.
The camp may only house 100 people, and people under 18 would only be allowed if they are with a parent.
The camp would also be required to perform background checks on residents. Convicted sex offenders would not be permitted, nor would people who have outstanding criminal warrants.
The rules also call for a code of conduct, which largely mirrors that of Tent City IV.
Camp officials would apply for a permit with the city’s development department. The department’s decision would not be subject to appeal.
The commission released its draft regulations on the city’s website May 5. The commission will formally present the regulations to the City Council May 13 and the council will hold a public hearing on them May 20 at the city’s maintenance and operations center, 1801 244th Ave. N.E.
The regulations are available at http://www.sammamish.us/files/document/12790.pdf.
The commission’s regulations are non-binding. The City Council will have the final word, voting on them some time after the public hearing.