Reader: Safe-Camping Site Okay in Your Neighborhood, Not Theirs?

Five Park Hill residents had sued to block a safe-camping site from their neighborhood.EXPAND
Five Park Hill residents had sued to block a safe-camping site from their neighborhood.
Kyle Harris
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Next month, Denver's first two safe-camping sites — both in parking lots of churches in central Denver — will close, and new ones will take their place. One is slated to go in a parking lot at Regis University. The second is set for the parking lot of Park Hill United Methodist Church.

Although five Park Hill residents had sued on May 6 to block that safe-camping site, Judge A. Bruce Jones dismissed their case on May 19, saying that the plaintiffs hadn't exhausted other administrative remedies. While they explore those options, plans continue for the Park Hill safe-camping site, and comments continue on the Westword Facebook post of our story about the lawsuit. Says Dmitry:

A homeless camp in South Park Hill among historic multi-million dollar mansions? I wonder if this is some sort of revenge for Park Hill's staunch opposition to developers?

Responds Michael:

I’d have staunch opposition to developers, too, if I paid millions for a home in a certain community.

Counters Rod:

About time the rich liberals get what they deserve. It's okay in your neighborhood but not theirs?

Notes Robert:

This lawsuit involves private property, not public parks. Big difference.

Comments Celia:

Peak NIMBYism. Cheers to this judge for interpreting what is right for justice, morality, and the law rather than what’s right for property taxes.

Replies Steve:

Judges continually over rule the will of the people.

Adds Kent: 

This is a bad idea. How about in a field on I-70 on the way to Kansas? That way when they trash it out, it will not look so bad for the city. Or maybe the judge could let them use his back yard ??

Concludes Amanda:

I remember this one time...the voters voted for the urban camping ban.

In their original complaint, the Park Hill residents had complained that the site "has not met the requirements set out by the city, pose[s] a real danger to minors and school-aged children, does not address the impact it will have on the neighborhood and displaces people from an area with available resources to an area not equipped to handle the purpose of the [safe-camping site]." It named the church, pastor Nathan Adams, the Colorado Village Collaborative and the City of Denver as defendants.

With that suit dismissed, the plaintiffs could take their case to the Denver Board of Adjustment for Zoning Appeals, which adjudicates administrative issues related to the Denver Zoning Code. A city zoning administrator has already issued a temporary-use permit to Park Hill United Methodist Church for the safe-camping site.

What do you think of the location? Safe-camping sites in general? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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