After a lengthy public hearing, the Hillsdale City Council voted, Monday, to send a controversial No Camping ordinance back to the Public Safety Committee for some changes.
Monday’s public hearing involved comments from more than forty individuals, including members of the clergy and officials from social service agencies.
Public opinions were split on whether the ordinance, which would make it a misdemeanor to set up camp on public property, should be passed.
Some members of Council also wrestled with the implications of approving the measure.
Prior to opening the public hearing, Mayor Adam Stockford said he had not yet made up his mind on the issue. He said council owes it to the public to care for the city’s unhoused population, while protecting the overall public interest.
Councilman Gary Wolfram recommended changing the violation to a civil infraction, which would remove the threat of jail time and a permanent criminal record from the ordinance.
Councilman Rob Socha, who initially suggested the ordinance, said he would agree to look at the possible change.
Attorney Tom Thompson told council a civil infraction may be more effective in encouraging compliance–
After more than two hours of public and council comments, Councilman Greg Stuchell entered a motion to send the ordinance back to the Public Safety Committee for the change.
That motion was approved.