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New ordinance to prevent long-term camping in Teller County

Posted at 10:34 PM, Apr 22, 2019

TELLER COUNTY – A new camping ordinance will soon go into effect in Teller County and the goal is to stop people from living in their RV’s or tents for long periods of time.

Under this new ordinance that passed in late March property owners can camp on their land for up to 60 days. Camping longer than that won’t be allowed. If you’re camping on a vacant lot for more than 14 days you’ll need a permit.

Teller County resident Merry Jo Larsen said, “I understand the situation and problem, and it does need to be addressed.”

County officials say over the last few years more and more complaints have been made about people camping too long on plots of land in Teller.

Larsen said, “It has created a real safety issue.”

That’s why county leaders are cracking down.

Larsen said, “I think right now we’re in a situation where it’s warranted.”

Even so, she hopes the new ordinance won’t be around forever as she does believe in private property rights.

For fellow resident Shawn Nielsen, he believes it’s only going to move the problem somewhere else.

“Homeless people are not going to become not homeless just because you told them not to. I think that they’re just basically going to move them from private lands to public lands.”

Nielsen is also the co-founder of Focus on the Forest.

“Our ultimate goal is to keep the forest clean. The more people that are living in the forest with no other options the more trash is going to get left in the forest which directly affects us.”

On a more personal level, Nielsen shared he was getting ready to buy his own plot of land to build a cabin, hoping to live in his fifth wheel until it was complete.

“Now I can’t even do it. I have to get a permit and I don’t know anybody other than a construction crew that can build a house in 60 days…I just sold my house in Leadville and that’s the money to do that.”

The county told News 5 that if it receives a complaint it will try to resolve the issue with the violator. If they do not comply they will get a summons to appear in court and could get fined.

The camping ordinance officially goes into effect on May 10th.

If you’d like to read the full ordinance CLICK HERE.