According to an item on the Aug. 26 City Council agenda released this afternoon, Fairhope Mayor Karin Wilson will veto the city’s two-week old ordinance to ban sleeping in cars Monday.
The ordinance regarding “sleeping in vehicles, out-of-doors or in nonresidential zones” was passed unanimously by the council Aug. 12. Modeled after existing ordinances in other cities, Police Chief Stephanie Hollinghead said it would provide the department with an enforcement mechanism to resolve vagrancy on public and private properties, whether by homeless or transient individuals.
In an interview on WABF 1480 AM the next day, Wilson expressed vague reservations about the ordinance, suggesting it didn’t cater to individual needs of the homeless.
“The police department is there not just to protect citizens but also to help and try to partner people with the right resources to get them help and this was really an enforcement mechanism for things,” Wilson said. “We do get complaints sometimes … but the reality is we absolutely, within the police department … when we interact with a homeless person it’s finding out what the issue is. Each issue is individual and that resource and help will be based on their need.”
Regarding sleeping in cars or RVs, which has become problematic in some areas during heavily attended city events, Wilson said it was “more about safety than anything … only there to protect citizens if there was a need.”
Neither Wilson, Hollinghead or Council President Jack Burrell were immediately available to provide additional information. This story will be updated as it develops.
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