Proposal to make it illegal to sleep in public places on James Island

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - James Island is considering a new ordinance that would prohibit people from sleeping or loitering in public places.

The James Island Town Council was scheduled to have a second reading of the proposed ordinance during Thursday night’s council meeting. This was the second time it was scheduled.

The ordinance would cover areas like outside restaurants, parks, parking lots, and public restrooms and schools.

According to the ordinance, anyone suspected of violating the new law would be allowed to explain their reason for being at the location to a police officer before being arrested.

If law enforcement doesn’t allow the suspect to explain themselves or if their original explanation is found to be true at trial, no one will be convicted.

“If it’s a public place, I don’t see what the issue is,” James Island resident Ali Waters said. “I think it’s kind of sad.”

Many people on James Island said they feel the proposed ordinance targets homeless people.

“There’s a man down the street from my house that sleeps in a tent, and I don’t think they should just be able to sleep wherever they want to sleep,” James Island resident Sharon Kulik said.

Kulik is hoping town council eventually passes the new law.

She thinks people sleeping in public places, regardless of whether or not they’re homeless, is a safety concern.

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea,” Kulik said. “I don’t think it’s safe for them, or the other people. I don’t think it’s safe for anybody.”

If you’re caught breaking the proposed ordinance, you could face up to 30 days in jail and a fine.

This is the second time a decision on the proposed ordinance has been scheduled for a second reading.

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