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Temporary Homeless Camps

Note: This project was an effort to address the permitting process and development standards concerning Temporary Homeless Camps.  This project was completed in April 2014 (see "Regulations Adopted" below). This web page is being maintained to document the progression of the project.


For more information about homelessness, please visit the Homelessness Services web page.


Regulations Adopted
The City Council adopted the land use regulations concerning the Temporary Homeless Camp Permitting Process on April 22, 2014, by Ordinance No. 28216, after conducting a public hearing on April 1, 2014, based on the Planning Commission's recommendation of February 19, 2014.

Temporary Homeless Camps Ordinance No. 28216 (April 22, 2014)
City Council Public Hearing Notice (April 1, 2014)
Planning Commission Recommendation (February 19, 2014)
Proposed Regulations
There is organized interest in the community to address homelessness and to provide options for persons in this life situation.  It is the intent of the City of Tacoma to regulate temporary homeless camps to protect public health and safety for such camps within the City that are associated with a religious organization as provided for in RCW 35.21.915

The process for developing land use regulations concerning temporary homeless camps began in August-September 2013.  The proposal would amend the Tacoma Municipal Code, Chapter 13.05 Land Use Permit Procedures and Chapter 13.06 Zoning, to establish the permitting process and development standards concerning such camps.

Posted below are materials reviewed by the Planning Commission (PC) since September 2013:
PC Review Packet - February 19, 2014 
PC Review Packet - February 5, 2014 
PC Presentation - February 5, 2014 
PC Review Packet - January 22, 2014 
PC Presentation - January 22, 2014
PC Public Hearing Notice - January 22, 2014
Public Review Document for Public Hearing - December 24, 2013
Environmental Determination of Proposal - December 30, 2013
PC Review Packet – December 18, 2013
PC Presentation – December 18, 2013
PC Review Packet – November 20, 2013
PC Presentation – November 20, 2013
PC Review Packet – September 18, 2013
PC Presentation – September 18, 2013
Scope of Work for Temporary Homeless Camps Regulations – September 17, 2013
In 2010, the Washington Legislature passed Ch. 175 (ESHB 1956), codified as RCW 35.21.915, which granted broad authority to religious organizations to host temporary homeless camps for individuals experiencing homelessness on property owned or controlled by such organizations.  It prohibits local governments from enacting an ordinance or regulation that imposes conditions other than those necessary to protect the public health and safety and that do not substantially burden the decisions or actions of a religious organization with respect to the provision of temporary homeless camps.  It also prohibits the imposition of permit fees in excess of the actual costs associated with the review and approval of the required permit applications for temporary homeless camps.

Staff ContactJohn Harrington
(253) 279-8950