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Despite backlash, JC Commission passes ordinance that bans ‘camping’ on public property

Zach Vance, Johnson City Press • May 4, 2018 at 2:45 PM

Beginning July 1, it will be a municipal offense for anyone to “camp” on property owned, leased or controlled by the city of Johnson City.

Johnson City commissioners unanimously voted Thursday to approve the final reading of the new ordinance, which came in response to concerns expressed by downtown business owners regarding people sleeping or “camping” in front of stores, sidewalks, parking lots and public parks.

Before the meeting began, more than a dozen activists, most representing the Washington County Democratic Party and Northeast Tennessee Democratic Socialists of America, silently protested the ban on the steps of city hall, claiming the ordinance unfairly targets the city’s homeless population.

Officials from the National Center Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness and the American Civil Liberties Union also got involved in the matter by sending letters to Johnson City leaders urging them to reject the ordinance.

For more on this story, visit the Johnson City Press. 

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