City Sues Orange County Over Plans to Build Homeless Encampment

(CN) – Irvine, California is suing Orange County in state court for its plan to set up a homeless encampment within the city.

Filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court, the 22-page complaint alleges that county leaders rushed through a homeless resettlement plan without properly notifying Irvine officials or city residents.

The city accuses the county of violating the Ralph M. Brown Act, a California open meetings law that requires legislative bodies to allow the public to attend and participate in their local meetings.

The complaint states that the city recognizes the local homeless problem, but “Irvine cannot be asked to have the County’s responsibilities foisted upon it, and certainly not under these circumstances.”

The complaint comes just one day after residents of Irvine held a rally in the Orange County Great Park to protest the decision to build a homeless encampment near there.

“I hate to say this but the homeless that are planning to come here really represent the worst of them because they’re the ones that aren’t following the rules, that don’t want to give up the drugs, that don’t want to accept services or housing,” Irvine Commissioner Anthony Kuo said Sunday in an interview with CBS LA. “And to put those across the street from sports fields and a senior community in my mind is just an incompatible use.”

The lawsuit comes just a week after county officials lined out their plan to relocate homeless residents from along the Santa Ana River to Irvine, Huntington Beach and Laguna Niguel. U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered the county to find or set up homeless shelters to house the homeless residents. They were given 30-day hotel vouchers, but the vouchers recently expired.

The complaint states that the county failed to explain how the homeless would be transported to the Irvine site, as well as logistical details such as security and sanitation.

“The County also has not conducted the requisite environmental impact reports and studies to determine the environmental impacts the planned temporary tent city may have on surrounding communities, including the Great Park,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit asks the court to rescind the county’s plan and seeks an injunction to prevent the county from beginning the project. The Orange County Board of Supervisors is set to meet Tuesday to discuss alternative solutions to the current homeless shelter plan.


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