Commissioners call for stricter no-camping rules in Mecklenburg Co.

Published: Feb. 22, 2012 at 4:12 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 22, 2012 at 3:20 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Commissioners made a move to ban camping on all county owned properties Tuesday night, but clearly they're not worried about your standard camper.

"In a sense, we owe Occupy Charlotte a thank you because had they not done what they did, we wouldn't have known that there's a weakness in our non-park property ordinance," Commissioner Bill James said during the meeting.

The Occupy camp has already been cleaned up, but now commissioners are clearly thinking about what protestors could do in other places when the DNC comes to town.

Nathan Morrison is a student, and he's homeless - now he feels like he has no place to rest his head.

"If I fall asleep is one of these red areas, I could be arrested," he told commissioners, fighting back tears.

Occupy member Ayendal Cala thinks local leaders are showing more concern for DNC visitors than the people that live her.

"I think it's a sad day for the city of Charlotte," Cala says, "and it goes against everything they're trying to portray, what this city or this nation is supposed to be growing towards. So it's very disheartening."

The last time commissioners considered the move, they didn't pass it.  Some said they first wanted a report on homelessness. Tonight, they were told it wasn't a problem on the county owned properties under consideration.

"I don't know if they've ever looked at the trains or bus stops," says Charlotte resident Holly Asher. "Every day you go by there, there's definitely homeless sleeping there, and it's going to affect them."