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Shelton Mason County Journal
Shelton, Washington
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Mason County Journal
News of Mason County, WA
August 21, 2014     Shelton Mason County Journal
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August 21, 2014

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weigh in Thursday, Aug 21,2014 -Mason County Journal- Page A-11 continued from page A- 1 '~rou want to tell us how to manage our property, as if we don't want to be good neighbors ... We don't need you to come in and manage everything," he said. As for the proposal to require the churches to appoint a contact person for the Shelton Police Department and maintain a list of on-site visitors, "I don't want to be an agent of the city's police force," Mikel said. A state law established in 2010 al- ready guarantees churches the right to use their properties for temporary home- less camps and establishes regulations. The law also prohibits municipalities from banning the temporary camps. The city's proposed regulations, first presented at the commission's meeting on July 21, allow churches to host as many as 100 people in temporary home- less camps for up to 90 days. The proposed regulations require the perimeter of the camp to be at least 20 feet from the neighboring property or public right-of-way. A managing agency would be required to provide and enforce a written code of conduct. The rules ban violence, alcohol, drugs, open flames, lit- tering and trespassing on private prop- erty. Fifteen residents shared their opin- ions about the proposed regulations at Monday's public hearing. Mikel was the only religious leader to step up to the mi- crophone. "The problem is there are a lot of camps in and around Shelton," Mikel said. "And they are there illegally. They are subjected to being broken up." Homeless people suffer because their belongings are stolen, the pastor said. The property owners are also burdened, because there are trespassers on their property, he said. Mikel said he believes the city is rush- ing to establish homeless camp regula- tions, doing a "disservice" to churches and neighbors. "I think it's significant enough to farm this out to the human services commit- tee," he said. And that was the commission's choice as well. The three commissioners agreed to hand the proposed regulations to its new human services committee; which will study the proposed rules and offer its recommendations to the commission. Commissioner Mike Olsen said he disagrees with some of the proposed rules. Requiring a 6-foot fence around a temporary encampment might be over burdensome for a church with 15 acres, Olsen said. As for requiring a church to have liability insurance, the churches already assume liability for their own property, he said. Olsen said churches should not be re- quired to maintain a list of on-site visitors. Nevertheless, "I see no reason why we can't make this work," he said. Mayor Gary Cronce began his com- ments by stating, "At first, I thought this issue would just go away." His statement was followed by gasps and chuckles from audience members. Cronce said he agrees that the re- quirement for a 6-foot fence probably needs to be changed. He said he agrees that the regulations need more public in- put and fine-tuning. During the public hearing, Shelton resident Barb Parsloe said the city's proposed ordinance is "the kind of over- regulation that leads citizens to despair." "Many of the provisions seem arbi- trary or unnecessarily restrictive," she said. '%Vhy can't the church apply for a permit every year? What is the purpose of a 6-foot fence? How will it address 'safety, noise or crime?'" She added, "The churches are one of the bright lights that ensure that Mason County is a caring community where we want to live. Please don't make their ef- forts more difficult." Two residents shared very different stories of living near homeless people. Rod Whittaker, who lives next to the Cold Weather Shelter in downtown Shel- ton, said that he encountered a homeless man who defecated in his carport the previous evening. "There is danger that comes with doing this... I want people to know there will be problems with these camps," he said. But Connie Simpson said she's never had problems with homeless people liv- ing in the woods outside her Mill Creek. property. "I'm surprised by the civility of these folks," Simpson said. Shelton residents need to help people who are "down on their luck," and provide "a community that was formed to advise the city on issues place for people to lay their heads down affect the poor, The advisory group at night." Yakima Corn 0 Peaches Apples 1921 E. Hwy 106, Union WA 98592 (360) 898-2222 (360) 426-2222 www, hunter-farms.com Paid for by Friends of Tammey Newton (D), PO Box 865, Allyn, WA 98524 Democrat Paid for by Committee to Elect Kathy Haigh,(D) 81 SE Walker Park Rd., Shelton, WA 98584 Paid by the Committee to Elect Melody Peterson (D), 411 W. Kelly Rd., Shelton WA 98584