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GODFREY - Godfrey is the next municipality in the Riverbend considering a camping ban on public property within the village. This follows similar ordinances passed in Alton and Wood River, though Godfrey stopped short of voting on the item at their meeting on Tuesday.

Trustee Rick Lauschke said he’d like to table the proposed camping ban to have more time to review the item and weigh the “pros and cons” before casting a vote. He then made a motion to table the item, which was passed unanimously.

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The proposed ordinance would adopt an “anti-camping policy on public property within the Village of Godfrey,” with the intent to “maintain and further expand the economic vitality” of the village, and to “protect the safety of the general public,” according to the ordinance itself.

Godfrey’s version of the ordinance contains similar wording to the one considered and passed last year by the Alton City Council, but does contain notable differences. Godfrey would charge higher fines for second and subsequent violations at $750 each, compared to Alton’s $500 maximum fine - however, both municipalities allow these fines to be paid by cash or community service.

Godfrey’s ban would also grant the Madison County Sheriff’s Office the authority to enforce any related camping regulations. This includes the authority for Madison County Sheriff's Deputies to confiscate personal property without warning whether or not someone is found in violation of this ordinance if that property is deemed a “legitimate health and safety concern.” Any property not deemed a safety hazard cannot be confiscated without a written notice of at least 24 hours, and must not be disposed of for up to 30 days.

The Village Board is now set to consider and vote on the camping ban at their next meeting on Tuesday, March 5, 2024 at 6 p.m. Tune in live on Riverbender.com/video/live or the Riverbender.com Facebook page for the latest updates on its passage.

A full recording of the Feb. 20, 2024 Village Board meeting is available at the top of this story, on the Riverbender.com Facebook page, or on Riverbender.com/video.

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Nov 20, 2023 - Updated Alton Public Camping Ban Passes Committee