Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 180088
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File Number: 180088 File Type: Ordinance Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: 18-1 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: PROHIBITIONS ON OVERNIGHT CAMPING ON COUNTY PROPERTY Introduced: 1/16/2018
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 1/23/2018
Agenda Date: 1/23/2018 Agenda Item Number: 7A
Notes: Title: ORDINANCE RELATING TO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ON COUNTY PROPERTY: AMENDING SECTION 21-286 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING AN EXCEPTION TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT GIVE VIOLATORS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO A HOMELESS SHELTER RELATED TO SEXUAL PREDATORS, SEXUAL OFFENDERS AND CERTAIN OTHER PERSONS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 172445]
Indexes: CAMPING
  HOMELESSNESS
Sponsors: Esteban L. Bovo, Jr., Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 1/23/2018 7A Adopted P
REPORT: First Assistant County Attorney Geri Bonzon-Keenan read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Hearing no questions or comments the Board proceeded to vote on the foregoing ordinance as presented.

County Attorney 1/16/2018 Assigned Shannon D. Summerset 1/16/2018

Public Safety and Health Committee 12/13/2017 1G1 AMENDED Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation with committee amendments following public hearing P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Suzanne Villano-Charif read the foregoing proposed ordinance into the record. Chairwoman Heyman opened the public hearing on the proposed ordinance and the following individuals appeared: Mr. Ronald L. Book, Chairman, Miami Dade County Homeless Trust, expressed support for the proposed amendment and noted the colony of registered sexual predators/offenders, located at NW 71 Street – from NW 35 to NW 36 Avenue, had grown substantially over the past 36 months. He clarified all those that moved from the Julia Tuttle Bridge were placed in housing; spoke about the State Department of Corrections unwillingness to sign a protocol MOU that would assist those offenders being released from jail; noted meetings were held with county departments and officials to discuss and address the encampment issue due to its unsanitary conditions; and commented on the Homeless Trust’s efforts to address this matter. Director Juan Perez, Miami Dade Police Department (MDPD), stated the proposed amendment helped clarify that the County could not provide shelter to sexual predators/offenders due to State mandates; however expressed concern with the local enforcement aspect and noted he and his department would continue working with the Homeless Trust, and all other partners, in hopes of resolving this issue. He commended MDPD’s Sexual Predator Unit for their efforts and stressed the need to provide those individuals with a specific address instead of them living on the streets. Mr. Richard Mason, 3650 NW 181 ST Miami Gardens, FL 33055, spoke against the ordinance and noted the focus should be on preventing sexual offenders from roaming around and living in the County’s beaches and parks. He suggested the County look into options for building a place specifically for those individuals. Ms. Barbara Junge, 10850 N. Bayshore Drive, Miami, FL, spoke against the amendment and opined it would cause house instability; that it would be costly and burdensome on the criminal justice system; and would leading to potential violations for both state and federal offenders. She expressed concern the amendment would counter the best practices described by the Department of Justice which said residency restrictions do not reduce recidivism. Mr. Jeffrey Hearse, 2383 North Bay Rd., Miami Beach, FL 33140, spoke against the ordinance. He agreed that the encampment issue needed to be addressed, but opined the proposed amendment would not resolve the current problem and only criminalize people who were unable to find a place to live. Ms. Olga Golik, 6200 SW 19th ST Miami, FL, said prohibiting camping without offering other housing options was irrational and would cause a revolving door at the jails; that it would be very costly to taxpayers; and would make offenders to go into hiding which was more dangerous for the children. She also pointed out the 2500 foot ordinance restricted them to the mentioned area at night, but not during the day when children were out. Ms. Jeanne Baker, ACLU, 1717 North Bayshore Dr., Miami, FL, opined the proposed amendment would create more problems for the police. She asked the committee to reject the proposed amendment; clarified the offenders who resided under the Julia Tuttle Causeway were only provided six months living accommodations; and opined the easiest way to resolve the issue was for the County to reinstate the State’s 1,000 foot restriction, in lieu of the County’s 2,500 foot restriction. After no one else appeared wishing to speak, Chairwoman Heyman closed the reasonable opportunity to be heard. Assistant County Attorney Shannon Summerset-Williams read into the record, the following amendments to Item 1G1 Supplement: - the last sentence of the first paragraph would read, “the ordinance clarifies that the requirement to offer an opportunity to go to a homeless shelter does not….” - paragraph two deleted in its entirety - last paragraph the wording “the amendment therefore creates” will be changed to “the amendment therefore makes clear an exception” Deputy Mayor Maurice Kemp noted the encampment was a difficult situation for the County, but clarified it was not the County’s intent to arrest their way out. He explained the County was actively involved with agencies that could assist in providing resources to address the problem; that the Department of Health made it clear to the County the status quo at the encampment was not acceptable; and the County was taking steps to bring some sanitary relief to the conditions there. Commissioner Diaz expressed concern with the State Department of Corrections placing offenders under the Julia Tuttle Causeway and with State employees presently instructing parolees where to go upon their release from jail. He commended Mr. Book and his daughter for the tremendous job they’ve done for the community; noted the importance of protecting our community, especially the children; and expressed his support for the proposed amendment In response to Commissioner Diaz, Mr. Book concurred the proposed amendment had nothing to do with the 2,500 feet issue and was not intended to criminalize homelessness. He explained thousands of registered sexual offenders/predators currently resided in housing throughout the County and would provide the map to each Commissioner. Mr. Book clarified the offenders at the encampment informed him, as witnessed by Deputy Mayor Kemp, that they were told to go to the location by the State Department of Corrections personnel upon their release from jail; and Mr. Book also pointed out several individuals were sent there by Federal personnel. Commissioner Levine Cava voiced her concerns and the need to effectively resolve this issue and the unsanitary conditions at the encampment. In response to Commissioner Jordan’s request for clarification Assistant County Attorney Villano-Charif explained, due to the regulations prohibiting sexual offenders/predators from being placed in shelters, this proposed amendment removed the requirement that the offender be offered to be taken to a homeless shelter. A discussion ensued regarding the number of sexual offenders/predators living on the street, it was noted all 235 who had the encampment as a registered address were on the offender or predator registry; however, not all physically lived at the encampment. Mr. Book also explained numerous individuals were instructed to go to the encampment upon their release, with some even given a tent upon their departure from jail. Commissioner Jordan expressed concern with the individuals being released by the State and instructed to go to a particular location. She asked whether or not County staff could ask the offender, during an interview, to sign an affidavit providing information on where they were told to go and the name and title of the person giving that instruction. She pointed out that would provide documented proof to the State of the problems being faced in Miami-Dade County with released sexual offenders/predators. Commissioner Diaz commented on the severity of this issue and pointed out there were approximately 530 transients currently in the County who did not have a permanent address and were required to check in every thirty days. Commissioner Heyman asked that a meeting between various agencies and County officials be conducted to address parolee issues and determine if the County could make adjustments administratively and/or legislatively in order to achieve a solution to the problems and challenges with housing opportunities, availability, affordability, location, and access; housing restrictions on predators; transportation services; job services; and medical services to those individuals. Deputy Mayor Kemp explained the proposed amendment was another tool to address the issue of the unsanitary conditions at the encampment and clarified it was not the intent for the police to go out an arrest the individuals because they couldn’t be taken to a shelter. He also voiced his support for Commissioner Jordan’s affidavit suggestion. There being no further questions or comments, the committee proceeded to vote on the foregoing proposed ordinance as amended.

Legislative Text


TITLE
ORDINANCE RELATING TO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ON COUNTY PROPERTY: AMENDING SECTION 21-286 OF THE CODE OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA; PROVIDING AN EXCEPTION TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT GIVE VIOLATORS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO A HOMELESS SHELTER RELATED TO SEXUAL PREDATORS, SEXUAL OFFENDERS AND CERTAIN OTHER PERSONS; PROVIDING SEVERABILITY, INCLUSION IN THE CODE, AND AN EFFECTIVE DATE [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 172445]

BODY
WHEREAS, this Board finds that it is in the interest of the County to maintain County property in an attractive and intact condition, readily available for the enjoyment of all of its visitors; and
WHEREAS, the County has an obligation to maintain its property clean, safe and publicly accessible in accordance with the requirements of law; and
WHEREAS, County property is an inappropriate setting for overnight camping activities for reasons that include, but are not limited to, the lack of adequate means for disposing of waste and access to utilities; and
WHEREAS, overnight camping in areas not equipped for such activities leads to the physical deterioration of such areas; and
WHEREAS, prohibiting overnight camping on County property helps to keep County property in an attractive and intact condition by reducing wear and tear on these areas; and
WHEREAS, prohibiting overnight camping on County property also helps to keep these areas accessible to visitors; and
WHEREAS, the County has previously enacted a prohibition on overnight camping which requires law enforcement to first offer any homeless person, as defined in 24 Code of Federal Regulations Section 583.5, who is violating the prohibition on overnight camping an opportunity to go to a homeless shelter if there is space available at such a shelter; and
WHEREAS, the requirement to offer homeless persons violating the prohibition an opportunity to go to a homeless shelter has proven unworkable, unduly burdensome on law enforcement, and has rendered the prohibition meaningless when the homeless person is a sexual predator, sexual offender, or is otherwise ineligible to stay at homeless shelters,
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA:
Section 1. Section 21-286 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida is hereby amended to read as follows:1
Sec. 21-286. - Prohibition on overnight camping.

(1) Except as otherwise provided for in this Code, there shall be no overnight camping on County facility/property. Overnight camping is defined as the use of outdoor space for living accommodation purposes involving the erection of structures such as the setting up of any tents, shacks, or shelters for sleeping activities, from the hours of sunset to sunrise. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County.

(2) Any person violating this section shall, upon being warned by a County official or a law enforcement officer, cease the prohibited activity. If the person continues the prohibited activity after such warning, the official or law enforcement officer may direct the individual to leave the premises. Any individual who does not leave as directed is subject to arrest for trespassing pursuant to Section 810.09 Florida Statutes.

(3) Any homeless person, as defined in 24 CFR Section 583.5, violating this section shall first be offered an opportunity to go to a homeless shelter by a County official or law enforcement officer, if there is space available at such a shelter. >>The requirement to offer an opportunity to go to a homeless shelter shall not apply to any sexual predator or sexual offender, as defined in section 21280 of the Code, or to any person that is otherwise ineligible to stay at a homeless shelter.<<

Section 2. If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held invalid, the remainder of this ordinance shall not be affected by such invalidity.
Section 3. It is the intention of the Board of County Commissioners, and it is hereby ordained that the provisions of this ordinance, including any sunset provision, shall become and be made a part of the Code of Miami-Dade County, Florida. The sections of this ordinance may be renumbered or relettered to accomplish such intention, and the word "ordinance" may be changed to "section," "article," or other appropriate word.
Section 4. This ordinance shall become effective ten (10) days after the date of enactment unless vetoed by the Mayor, and if vetoed, shall become effective only upon an override by this Board.

1 Words stricken through and/or [[double bracketed]] shall be deleted. Words underscored and/or >>double arrowed<< constitute the amendment proposed. Remaining provisions are now in effect and remain unchanged.



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