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Tougher rules planned for storing personal items on Santa Barbara public property

Storing personal belongings on city property in Santa Barbara could soon have a very narrow timeline.

A proposed ordinance will suggest a four-hour limit.

Items like medications and birth certificates will be preserved, but other items could be picked up by police or public works officials, stored and the owner would have up to 90 days to retrieve what was collected.

The Santa Barbara City Ordinance Committee will discuss the item Tuesday.

It’s become a serious problem in Santa Barbara with sidewalks, driveways and at times, some traffic lanes impacted.
A man who has lived in Santa Barbara off and on says, “they just found a loop in the law where the sidewalk is public where they can set up camp,” said Kevin Auclair.

72 hour warnings have been issued, but the new plan would be less lenient.

Auclair says he would like to see a solution which involves some help on storage. “I can see some kind of discount for people to get storage units but I think that will be abused also. I am in a bad situation right now I also have a storage unit which I am behind on that’s a constant battle.”

He says with the belongings he has day to day he keeps them, “right next to me. Wherever you sleep, where ever I sleep it has to be right next to me.”

In many cases the items are blocking public access, or forcing people out of the sidewalk areas and into the streets or landscaping.

The city also says it is discouraging the public from going into certain areas and can have a larger economic impact.

At least one business owner has personally written to the Santa Barbara Police Chief Lori Luhnow about strong enforcement by using the new laws and by working with the city attorney’s office on legally defensible upgraded ordinances.

Recently one group took over a large sidewalk area on several sites around Laguna and Gutierrez Streets and told NewsChannel 3 they would move prior to the deadline in order to get a fresh period to sit and keep their belongings in the public areas, at no cost to them.

Auclair says compared to a few years ago, he sees a big difference, “when I left the laws were pretty strict on sleeping on the beach and everything. They have lightened up – a lot. I walked down there and there were tents set up and I said ‘what the heck?'”

For more information go to:

Santa Barbara City Ordinance committee

KEYT 2019

Article Topic Follows: Local Politics

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