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Chico City Council approves sit-lie ordinance

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:58:24 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 20 2013 11:42:18 AM CST

The Chico City Council Tuesday night took steps to tackle two of the city's biggest issues, downtown homeless and the drinking culture.

The council's first major action of the night came when they approved a sit-lie, or civil sidewalks, ordinance.

It gives Chico police a tool to cite people for lingering in the downtown area and is a direct action to try and alleviate a perceived transient issue.

The ordinance will take effect in 30 days. It passed on a 4-2-1 vote, with Councilmembers Tami Ritter and Randall Stone against and Mary Goloff as the absentee.

The council also made moves to give police another tool, one that will give them more power against alcohol licensees.

The city voted 6-0-1 to ask the planning commission to come up with rules that would be applied by local officials instead of waiting for the state to act on violations.

"Well what it does is it provides a more expedient manner for us to deal with local issues than going through the state which can take many months to resolve," says Chico Police Chief Kirk Trostle. "The city attorney will be able to follow through on these and through the planning commission process deal with public nuisances."

The suggestion for the move came from the Internal Affairs Committee, whose chair, Councilmember Tami Ritter, said punishments can take months and even years to come from the state.

A couple of downtown bar owners addressed the council about the proposal, saying only that they hope they won't be punished by the city and the state for the same offense.