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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A new camping ban is in the works for Douglas County.

Commissioner Abe Laydon said he decided to lead the way in establishing a camping ban in Douglas County. The goal, he said, is to keep public spaces clean and safe.

“We are working really hard to get ahead of this issue. Last year we reduced our entire homeless population by 46%, so our Point in Time went down to 27 homeless,” Laydon said, referring to the annual, one-night count of unhoused communities around the country.

On Thursday, the FOX31 team drove through the streets of Castle Rock and along its bike paths and did not see any encampments. But the Problem Solvers were told there have been a few places where tents have popped up.

“When I first got here, there were five or six tents scattered throughout the trail. Now, I know of only one,” bicyclist William Hansen said. “There was a problem when you were walking. They (campers) tend to ask you for money.”

Camping ban violators could be fined $1,000

Laydon said he wants to address the problem before it gets out of control. He said the goal would be to make sure people get the help they need before they’re cited.

Douglas County has been focused on the unhoused community in other ways. Signs have been put up asking people not to give handouts. Meanwhile, teams of navigators and law enforcement officers are looking for campsites and others who may need help.

Tiffany Marsitto is part of the Homeless Engagement Assistance and Resource Team — HEART, for short. Marsitto said the ordinance will help, suggesting the ban could encourage people to accept resources instead.

Illegal campers could face a fine of up to $1,000. But those tickets would only be issued if shelter is available.

Douglas County commissioners will vote on the second reading of the camping ban ordinance on June 20. If it passes, that ban could go into effect in mid-July.