PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Tempe officials are moving forward with a proposal that would once again ban people from sitting or lying down on city sidewalks.
This has apparently become a real problem in the City of Tempe, and now the city council is trying to fix it.
Squatting on sidewalks was once banned in downtown Tempe. But since that ban was lifted in 2014, the city has seen a 200 percent increase in people sitting and lying on sidewalks. Now City Manager, Andrew Ching, is asking the city to change it's code, and once again prevent people from squatting on Tempe streets.
At the Tempe City Council meeting tonight they discussed the growing problem of people sitting and lying on downtown sidewalks. A proposed change to city code would-would allow a police officer to warn someone and then fine them $100 if they refuse to move.
"We make it very clear that there has to be notification and education by a law enforcement officer before there's any citation," said Andrew Ching.
Tempe Property managers MoonShadow and Peter Crocoll spoke for the change tonight. They say their tenants have to walk in the street to get around the squatters.
"Young people coming in from who knows where, cardboard signs, hanging out on the street, it's sort of a cultural thing to do," said Peter Crocoll.
Ryan Mendez, who works at a startup in downtown Tempe, echoed a similar sentiment.
"Sometimes I feel like I trip over them like their legs are sticking out especially at night when it is busy," said Ryan Mendez.
Many perched on Tempe sidewalks are homeless, like this man who calls himself "Rockstar". He says he already moves from one spot to another, to give other homeless a place to rest.
"Where are people that have nowhere to go, where are they supposed to go then," said
Tempe City Council will hold more public hearings before it votes on the issue. The council will also weigh the opinion of the new Tempe Police Chief, who arrives March 24.