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The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners will meet Monday for its regular meeting at 6:45 p.m in Room 118 at the Cumberland County Courthouse. The agenda is set out here. During this meeting the board will decide whether or not to forcibly remove encampments where homeless people live from county property.
If the board goes through with the proposed ordinance, it means that Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright has the authority to:
- Enforce the ordinance by giving notice of trespass to the person or persons camping or establishing a camp on county property.
- Direct those persons to remove all personal property located at the campsite.
- Request the county manager to dispatch appropriate county staff to remove any personal property not removed from the site within the time directed.
Trespassing fines can also be issued to anyone amping or establishing a camp on county property.
If the Board of Commissioners passes this proposed ordinance, it would follow a similar ordinance passed by the Fayetteville City Council in August. Fayetteville’s ordinance made it unlawful for people to camp on city property.
In a memo to the Board of Commissioners, County Attorney Rick Moorefield said Fayetteville’s ordinance forced homeless people to begin camping on county property. This resulted in sanitation issues at the Cumberland County Public Library, which the county has jurisdiction over. This was the justification of the proposal to the Board of Commissioners.
The county ordinance would be effective immediately if passed by the Board of Commissioners on Monday.
City of Fayetteville’s ordinance
On Nov. 7, Fayetteville began issuing citations to homeless people who were camping on city property and rights of way, public lands usually used for roadways and utilities.
These actions are enforcement for an ordinance passed by the Fayetteville City Council in August that prohibits camping on those properties.
According to the memo to the Board of Commissioners, Moorefield cited the city’s ordinance as a reason for the county to consider adopting its own. “The enforcement of that ordinance will likely shift the homeless persons camping in the city parking lot across the street from the downtown library to the library property,” the agenda states.
To make comments to the Board of Commissioners, you have sign up before the meeting here, by phone at 910-678-7771, by fax at 910-678-7770, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The sign-up sheet will also be available 15 minutes before the start of the meeting.
Carolina Public Press will be reporting on the meeting and decisions made by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners after the meeting.
Those who are homeless and seeking help and resources can visit the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Continuum of Care’s website here.