Phased Approach Proposal

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Steve Adler
Posts: 252
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:12 pm

Phased Approach Proposal

Post by Steve Adler » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:02 pm

This post is from CM Tovo, CM Kitchen, CM Casar and Mayor Adler.

We would like to thank all of our colleagues for weighing in and participating in this discussion regarding the City’s Camping and Obstruction ordinances. Thank you, in particular, to CM Ellis and CM Flannigan for urging us to focus on clarifying the Council’s actions on June 20th, as the City Manager’s recent memo challenged us with doing.

We recognize that some areas that are not the safest for people to camp in are also are the places where our neighbors experiencing homelessness have chosen to be. Considering this, we propose, except where there is an imminent or serious public health or safety threat, or an unreasonable impeding of public space, a phased-in approach that provides housing and services to individuals first, before enforcing prohibitions.

Each of us supports this approach. We believe we have come together on the vast majority of provisions in this ordinance. We also hope that our colleagues who have graciously offered to sign on as cosponsors will review this proposal and share their thoughts. This continues in the spirit of everyone’s work so far.

http://assets.austintexas.gov/austincou ... 135357.pdf

You’ll see in the draft linked below that there are sections labeled “alternatives” that reflect the remaining differences between the proposals so far. However, those differences are only in a few areas:
- how sidewalks are treated,
- distance from shelters,
- distance from creeks,
- wildfire areas,
- whether category 3 items are only approved on first reading now and third reading when we achieve effective zero homelessness, or if we consider on third reading now, but it is only enforceable at effective zero homelessness.
- whether to grant the City Manager versus department heads more authority in determining areas of risk

We look forward to the public hearing tomorrow and discussing this with you this week.

Mayor Steve Adler
Council Member Greg Casar
Council Member Ann Kitchen
Council Member Kathie Tovo
Mayor

Greg Casar
Posts: 98
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:20 pm

Re: Phased Approach Proposal

Post by Greg Casar » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:15 pm

Mayor: Thanks for this. I think it’s a really positive development that we recognize in our ordinance that people need housing and services, first and foremost, because even with our clarifications to the ordinance, we can’t truly succeed until we house people.

I’m also glad that the areas of policy divergence have been significantly reduced. I think this can focus our deliberations, and it will help us get to take quicker votes on the matter. I am open to my colleagues thoughts, and I will be actively listening to community testimony—at this moment, though, here’s my position on the 6 areas of “alternatives”/differences that remain in the proposal:

1) Sidewalks: my preference is to stick to 4 foot clear zone as the standard, and to minimize naming of streets
2) Shelter distance: I’d like to keep the distance in the smaller set of alternatives
3) Creek distance: I support not allowing people to sleep inside a creek since that’s so dangerous, but I believe we should not criminalize those who are forced to sleep near one (so keep that distance small)
4) I support banning starting fires in high wildfire areas, rather than prohibiting sleeping there.
5) For “Category III,” I prefer to postpone discussion of those future restrictions until we get to a 60 day housing waitlist, rather than to go ahead and make such restrictions effective at that point.
6) Manager vs. other staff authority: I’d like for the Manager to have the baseline authority to determine when an area is imminently dangerous.

Thank you,
Greg
Gregorio "Greg" Casar
Council Member District 4

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