On The Move? Is The End Finally Near For This Montana Eyesore?
One of America's fastest-growing cities is also dealing with a big problem that has been deemed as "Urban Camping".
In the last few years, "pop-up neighborhoods" have started showing up all over Bozeman. Many of them are filled with broken-down vehicles, overflowing dumpsters, "borrowed" shopping carts from local retailers, and a plethora of other things. The reason for this? For many, the cost of living is simply too much
However, many local residents and business owners have had enough and are demanding that Bozeman officials do something about the problem and it looks like something just might be on the horizon.
Several weeks back, City officials were going to address the issue and vote on a proposal that among a few other things, would require those living on the streets in vehicles or campers to move every 5 days. However, that vote was postponed to a later date.
Well, it's back on the agenda and it looks like tomorrow night (Tuesday, September 19th, 2023) the City will hear the proposed ordinance. So what does the ordinance entail? According to a press release from the City of Bozeman
"The proposed ordinance allows people to stay in the public right-of-way in a vehicle for up to five days if they are homeless and no other form of shelter is available. After five days, they must move to a different street. Additionally, people may not camp adjacent or across from a residence, park, school, or daycare, or within 100 feet of a business entrance. Other parts of the draft ordinance include that people must maintain clean and orderly spaces with no trash or personal items stored outside their vehicles"
For many locals, this might not seem like enough, however, according to the law 9th Circut Law of Appeals including two separate cases, it seems that these folks are within their rights.
"These cases recognize people experiencing homelessness have a constitutional right to keep themselves warm and dry while sleeping when there are no other forms of shelter available. The proposed regulations continue to protect this constitutional right, meaning people can and will be allowed to sleep in the right-of-way."
The press release goes on to state that there are both short-term and long-term solutions that the City is working on, including more affordable housing. There have also been concerns that these areas have brought additional crime to the city, however, the report states that according to Bozeman Police, there has not been a "dramatic increase" in crime.
What do you think the City of Bozeman should do? Is there a better answer? Let us know on your radio station app.