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Wheeling council passes amended ban on camping on public property

By Eric Ayres, The Intelligencer

WHEELING, W.Va. — An amended ordinance to ban camping on public property in the city of Wheeling was passed by a majority vote from members of city council on Tuesday night.

The controversial issue has been a brewing topic over the past few weeks since the camping ban legislation was introduced in October, prompting several members of the homeless outreach community to express opposition to any type of action that would displace a number of people who have nowhere else to go. A second and final reading of the camping ban legislation was passed by city council Tuesday night by a vote of 5-2, with Mayor Glenn Elliott and Councilwoman Rosemary Ketchum dissenting.

Amendments to the ordinance prohibiting camping on public property will allow an exception for approved camping locations that may be designated by the city manager. One or more specific locations within the city limits will be exempt from the prohibitions and penalties outlined in the ordinance, which will take effect on Jan. 1.

The amendments to the ordinance also tweaked the penalty section for violations. The amount of fines would be not less than $10 and no more than $500, and community service may be imposed in lieu of monetary fines.

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