Skip to main content
This section is included in your selections.

(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code:

(a) Persons may sleep overnight in a vehicle in a parking lot of a religious institution, place of worship, business or public entity that owns or leases property on which a parking lot and occupied structure are located, with permission of the property owner. The property owner may not grant permission for more than six vehicles used for sleeping at any one time. For purposes of this subsection (1), the term “vehicle” includes a car, tent, camper, trailer, and Conestoga hut.

(b) Persons may sleep overnight in the back yard of a single family residence in a residential zoning district, with permission of the owner and tenant of the residence. Not more than one family may sleep in any back yard, and not more than one tent or camping shelter may be used for sleeping in the back yard. As an alternative, but not in addition to sleeping overnight in the back yard, not more than one family may sleep in a vehicle, camper or trailer parked in the driveway of a single family residence in a residential zoning district, with permission of the owner and tenant of the residence. For purposes of this subsection, “family” means persons related by blood or marriage, or no more than two unrelated adults.

(c) Persons may sleep overnight in a vehicle, on a paved or graveled surface located on a vacant or unoccupied parcel, with the permission of the property owner, if the owner registers the site with the city or its agent. The city may require the site to be part of a supervised program operated by the city or its agent. The property owner may not grant permission for more than six vehicles used for sleeping at any one time.

(2) A property owner who allows a person or persons to sleep overnight on a property pursuant to subsections (1)(a), (1)(b) or (1)(c) of this section shall:

(a) Provide or make available sanitary facilities;

(b) Provide garbage disposal services as required by sections 6.050 and 6.055 of this code;

(c) Provide a storage area for campers to store any personal items so the items are not visible from any public street;

(d) Require a tent or camping shelter in a backyard to be not less than five feet away from any property line; and

(e) Not require payment of any fee, rent or other monetary charge for overnight sleeping, as authorized by this section.

(3) A property owner who permits overnight sleeping pursuant to subsection (1) and (2) of this section, may revoke that permission at any time and for any reason. Any person who receives permission to sleep on that property as provided in this section shall leave the property immediately after permission has been revoked.

(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the city manager or the manager’s designee may:

(a) Prohibit overnight sleeping on a property if the city finds that such an activity on that property is incompatible with the uses of adjacent properties or constitutes a nuisance or other threat to the public welfare; or

(b) Revoke permission for a person to sleep overnight on city-owned property if the city finds that the person has violated any applicable law, ordinance, rule, guideline or agreement, or that the activity is incompatible with the use of the property or adjacent properties.

(5) The city manager or the manager’s designee may impose administrative civil penalties on property owners who fail to comply with the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) of this section, as provided in section 2.018 of this code.

(6) In addition to any other penalties that may be imposed, any campsite used for overnight sleeping in a manner not authorized by this section or other provisions of this code shall constitute a nuisance and may be abated as such. As used in this section, “campsite” has the meaning given in section 4.815 of this code.

(7) The city manager may adopt administrative rules in the manner provided in section 2.019 of this code to implement this section.

(8) With authorization from the city manager or designee in connection with a specific special event, persons may sleep overnight on public property which has a community center, swimming pool, or other city-operated athletic facility located thereon at which the special event is being held. The authorization shall be limited to no more than eight days in any two-week period.

(9) Nothing in section 4.815 or 4.816 of this code creates any duty on the part of the city or its agents to ensure the protection of persons or property with regard to permitted overnight sleeping.

(10) Permitted overnight sleeping rest stop program.

(a) Up to 15 persons may sleep overnight in vehicles, as that term is defined in subsection (1)(a) of this section, on property authorized pursuant to subsection (c) below. However, for rest stop sites that have been operating in good standing for at least six months, the operator of the rest stop may request, and the city manager may approve, that up to 20 persons may sleep overnight at a specified site under this program.

(b) No site may be used for overnight sleeping pursuant to subsection (a) above unless one or more entities enters into the agreement with the city referenced in subsection (c) below and one or more entities provides adequate garbage, toilets and supervision. The entity providing supervision shall work with surrounding and nearby neighbors (businesses or residences) to address any concerns.

(c) The city manager shall recommend to the city council one or more proposed sites authorized by subsections (a) and (b) above. Any such site may not be located in a residential area or close to a school unless the city council determines that any potential impacts to the surrounding residences or to the school can be effectively mitigated. Before a proposed site may be used, the site must be approved by the city council by motion and an agreement must be executed between the city and the entity referred to in subsection (b) above. Such an agreement may include but is not limited to provisions concerning:

1. Supervision;

2. Selection of the individuals who may camp at the site;

3. Number of continuous days that someone may camp at the site;

4. Hours that people may stay at the site in addition to 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.;

5. Structures and other items that may be placed on the site; and

6. Closure of the site for non-compliance with the terms of the agreement.

(Section 4.816 added by Ordinance No. 20130, enacted August 5, 1998; and amended by Ordinance No. 20255, enacted June 10, 2002, effective July 10, 2002; Ordinance No. 20517, enacted and effective September 25, 2013; and Ordinance No. 20621, enacted July 22, 2019, effective August 23, 2019.)