Chico – Chico Police issued their first 7-day notices of intent to enforce anti-camping ordinances on homeless people living in camps on Chico’s public properties.
Interim city manager Paul Hahn said that at 8 a.m. Monday, police issued notices to residents of downtown Chico and headed to Lower Bidwell Park.
“The team is out and basically started early this morning and started issuing notices to anyone we could find in town. And then they were running late in the morning and leaving for Lower Bidwell Park for the rest of the day Were,” Hahn said. “They are basically trying to get everyone a piece of paper. If we didn’t find anyone and they weren’t in their tents, you would have left a notice there and returned several times.
Hahn said police will try to contact people who have been evacuated from their campsites before issuing a warning to remove the property.
Three residents of the city council mandals confirmed that the police had arrived in the morning to give notice.
Those now under enforcement were previously required to be assessed by the City Outreach and Engagement Team for potentially suitable shelters. With their first warning, they will have seven days to accept a suitable shelter or leave the property.
At the end of the seven-day warning, the police will issue another 72-hour notice to those who have not vacated public property. If a person remains on public property at the end of 72 hours’ notice, the police can remove that person and their belongings from the property and fine them. If a person vacates the property within a second 72-hour warning, they can avoid a citation and fine.
Between 50 and 60 people have been surveyed in existing areas of enforcement. Hahn said he did not yet have the exact number of citations to be released.
For people living in RVs, trailers or mobile homes, Hahn said police will continue a regular enforcement process to ensure they are parked legally and that all permits are up to date.
“We’re not out to try and trouble people, but we’re out to make sure we couldn’t get in and out of there if there was an emergency — for example in Comanche Creek. Had there been a fire, the fire tenders wouldn’t have arrived to douse the fire because it’s all off and things like that happen. That’s what we’re trying to address at this point.”
Meanwhile, the city’s outreach and engagement team conducted an assessment at Lower Bidwell Park on Monday.