Council Approves Shelter Regulations Ordinance

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An Ordinance that provides regulations on temporary shelter encampments was approved after a public hearing at the City Council’s July 5 meeting.

Mountlake Terrace’s current city code does not allow temporary shelter encampments. In 2010, the state legislature passed a bill requiring cities and counties to allow temporary encampments hosted by religious organizations, provided they had a permit and met standards. The City has not received any proposals for encampments, but the City Council requested preparation of a permitting process and standards, just in case something is proposed in the future.

The new Ordinance provides a process for permitting, standards and regulations of encampments that is consistent with state law. Temporary shelter encampments would be allowed once per year for no more than 90 days and require such items as a traffic plan, garbage and recycling plans, code of conduct that protects the health, welfare and safety of people living in the encampment and residents of the city.

“Council is sensitive and concerned for the homeless and also concerned for our community. This Ordinance gives us the leverage to regulate these camps which is important for protecting our citizens,” said Councilmember Rick Ryan.

Councilmember Robles, who sits on the Health Board, talked to the Public Health Director about the new Ordinance. “They do not have a policy and are very pleased that a Snohomish County City came forward to develop one. They consider it very proactive on our part to prepare for both the homeless and in case of a disaster,” Robles said.

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