TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Topeka city leaders seem to be one step closer to voting on a new public camping ordinance. The city’s Public Health and Safety committee is scheduled to vote on whether to recommend the proposal to the city council Tuesday afternoon.
City leaders have been working on a new camping ordinance for more than a year. This newest proposal would be a partial ban that would establish zones where homeless people cannot camp.
This ban would include under public infrastructure like bridges. City leaders want to avoid incidents like a fire under the Kansas Avenue bridge in 2018 that cause more than $700 thousand in damage.
Although the committee is scheduled to vote on the proposal, Topeka Councilwoman Karen Hiller wants to make sure groups like the Topeka Police Department and the Homeless Task Force have weighed in.
“If they haven’t had time to vet it I hope we do one more round of giving them time to give us some feedback,” said Hiller. “I think we’re real close to wrapping this up and in a really solid way that’s been well done.”
If the committee sends the proposal to the city council it is unclear when the council would vote on the measure. City Manager Brent Trout says a progress review is scheduled for December 3. He says the council could debate the proposal then, but that doesn’t mean they will be ready to vote.
The Public Health and Safety Committee will meet Tuesday afternoon at 3 pm in the first floor conference room in the Holiday Building at 620 SE Madison Street.