At its meeting on March 27, the Grover Beach City Council adopted an ordinance to regulate camping and vehicle habitation on public rights-of-way and public and private property. This action comes as part of an ongoing effort to address homelessness throughout South County.
The ordinance sets regulations for time, place and manner of camping on public and private property. This includes campground setbacks of 200-feet from residences on City-owned property and school property. The City Council extended the setback in the El Camino Real open space area to 250 feet instead of 200 feet. The City is also implementing fencing along Margarita Avenue and Charles Street and installing "no parking" signs along North 4th Street to limit access to the El Camino Real open space area.
“Addressing homelessness is an ongoing priority for the City, and we value the community's engagement and involvement in the process,” said Grover Beach Mayor Karen Bright. “Adopting this ordinance is one of many tools the City is employing to implement change in our local and regional communities. Along with our shelter efforts, this new policy will help us continue addressing resident concerns and give us the ability to take action where we can.”
Prior to the new ordinance, the City had an outdated ordinance that was not enforceable due to the 2018 Martin v. City of Boise ruling, which prevents cities from enforcing encampment policies if there are not enough shelter options. Following the opening of the Cabins for Change program in December 2022 and the ongoing development of the Barca Street housing facility, the City reevaluated its homelessness response mechanisms to maintain a holistic approach.
In addition to supporting shelter spaces, the City has also engaged in several encampment clean ups to promote community health and safety. To enhance the City’s ability to preserve the cleanliness of public spaces, City Council collaborated on camping limitations that are both enforceable and legally compliant. The adopted ordinance will be implemented into Article III and Article V of the Grover Beach Municipal Code.
Before the ordinance goes into effect on April 27, the Police Department will conduct targeted outreach and post highly visible signage in the newly affected areas. City staff will monitor the impact of the ordinance in conjunction with additional homelessness efforts and provide an update to City Council later this year or in early 2024.
“The adopted ordinance is part of a multidimensional approach that utilizes compassion and order to combat homelessness within the City,” said Grover Beach City Manager Matt Bronson. “These new regulations will amplify and complement the City’s other homelessness initiatives that are already in the works. We will continue working with our partners at 5 Cities Homeless Coalition and the County to expand our reach.”
The City is committed to maintaining its partnership with organizations and agencies across SLO County to provide emergency shelters, safe parking areas, transitional housing, group homes and other facilities to make progress toward long-term solutions.