The Sutter County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to pass an ordinance prohibiting camping in certain areas in the county. The urgency ordinance goes into effect immediately and is similar to one recently passed in Yuba County.
The ordinance prohibits camping and storage of personal property on private property and public property in certain areas in unincorporated parts of the county – particularly along the levees and Feather River. The ordinance is said to be an effort to protect levees and inhabitants near waterways from flooding during the upcoming rain season.
The Sutter County ordinance passed after an amendment to change a 48-hour notice for removal of possessions to 72 hours.
Sutter County public information officer Chuck Smith said the Sutter County Sheriff’s office plans to develop a task force that will communicate with people who will be affected by the ordinance.
Since the Yuba County ordinance passed Nov. 12, Yuba County Code Enforcement Director Jeremy Strang said the agency has not yet started enforcement.
“We have to work out the details for what that looks like in the field,” Strang said. “We are in the process of working out the process that we’re going to use.”
The process, Strang said, includes issuing a pre-impoundment notice, which the ordinance requires be posted allowing 48 hours notice before removing someone’s personal property. Once removed, the property will be held for 90 days. Also, the personal property owner can request a pre-impoundment hearing within 48 hours to contest the violation.
Strang said the details of how Code Enforcement will keep an inventory of the property, where it will be stored and how the six county code enforcement officers will post the impound notice are still being configured.
“Those are all the little nuances and details that need to be worked out,” Strang said.
Leslie Carbah, public information officer for the Yuba County Sheriff’s department said that the nature of passing an emergency ordinance means it will take some time to work out the details to enforce the ordinance.
“This was an emergency ordinance in order to get the wheels turning and get some processes in place,” Carbah said. “I would expect things to start ramping up in the next month.”
Carbah said the code enforcement department will primarily be issuing notices but the sheriff’s department will offer assistance if there is a safety issue. She said the sheriff’s office has not been issuing notices, and that the goal is for people to remove themselves before law enforcement has to intervene.
“As far as the new ordinance we haven’t taken any official steps to give notice,” Carbah said. “It’s just been casual conversation with those that it’s going to affect.”
“Our goal is voluntary compliance, we don’t want to have to resort to a criminal act of the ordinance.” Carbah said. “Obviously that would be a last resort.”