Council set to approve parks-code updates in January

Updates to Redmond’s parks code are set to be approved at the Jan. 2 city council meeting following a public hearing on Dec. 5.

The rules update has been in the works since last April when the council was initially briefed on possible changes.

Many of the proposed modifications simply update language and clarify what the penalties for violating the code would be.

The code was last updated in the 1990s, and many criminal and civil violations were retained.

Staff reported to the council that the main objective of the update was to develop a code that met modern needs for parks and trails and promoted positive behavior.

All parks will be tobacco free if the proposal passes, and smoking or chewing tobacco, or using electronic cigarettes, would be a misdemeanor and could carry a punishment of up to $1,000 in fines and 90 days in jail.

Other misdemeanors include being in a park after hours, loitering in restrooms and recreation facilities, interfering with trails and mooring any kind of watercraft in a swimming area.

Feeding wildlife, as well as harming native animals or park property is also a misdemeanor in the code.

Other infractions, which could result in a $500 civil fine, include flying drones in the park, improperly parking, docking boats overnight or letting dogs off a leash or onto swimming beaches.

Tents are prohibited unless there are two sides that can be seen through, and overnight camping is still prohibited.

Extended hours will be established by city staff in coming weeks for special permit events.

Council member John Stilin asked at the meeting if there could be exceptions made in the final ordinance that would allow pedestrian commuters to use the trails after hours.

The code was placed on the Jan. 2 consent agenda for the council.

Part of the update clarified the city’s position on camping on public land to bring it into compliance with a court ruling known as the Boise Decision, which essentially bars cities from sweeping homeless people from public land if there are no shelter beds available.

Camping in parks is currently illegal under city code, and this will be retained under the new rules.

Redmond Police Chief Kristi Wilson said her department follows a policy that is in line with the ruling.

There is no camping allowed in city parks or trails, but if there are no shelter beds available for homeless people sleeping in other public spaces, the police cannot move them.

“That conforms with the Boise Decision,” Wilson said.

Redmond police, Wilson said, frequently approach unsheltered people and try to connect them with city and housing resources.

Wilson said officers generally don’t see people sleeping in parks and that community input was taken into account when drafting their regulations.

“Our community had some really strong feelings towards our parks and trails and preserving the open space of them,” she said. “This really provides just some clarity for our staff all the way across the city.”

In previous coverage from May, city staff said the rules update was proposed following a large increase in population since 1994 when the last rules were passed.

In 1994, Redmond had a population of 41,000, which had grown to nearly 60,000 as of 2016.

Many new parks were opened in that time, and more are scheduled to come on line soon, such as the Downtown Park, which is scheduled to open in 2018.

The city owns nearly 50 parks encompassing more than 1,350 acres and more than 36 miles of trails.

The current code includes outdated and confusing language like prohibitions on being a “peddler, fakir, mendicant, beggar, strolling musician, organ grinder, exhorter, barker, showman or bootblacks,” in parks.

Circuses, carnivals and traveling exhibitions were also banned without permits, and this language was also updated.

More in News

Sarah Yount, former YES client, speaks at YES’s 50th anniversary celebration on Nov. 2. Madison Miller/staff photo.
Youth Eastside Services celebrates 50 years

YES celebrates 50 years of providing youth and family behavioral health services.

Sky Metalwala has been missing for seven years. Photo courtesy of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Police plead for help in search for missing boy

Sky has been missing since Nov. 6, 2011 and turned 9 years old on Sept. 2.

Suspect arrested after stealing paychecks | Police blotter

The Redmond police blotter from Oct. 22 through 24. Courtesy of the RPD blog.

Kuderer leads Tom; Walen over Bright

Legislative District 48 race. Results are preliminary.

Democrats lead in 45th Legislative District

Dhingra, Goodman and Springer earned about two thirds of the vote.

DelBene leads in 1st Congressional District in early returns

As of election night, incumbent Suzan DelBene was leading with 69 percent of the vote, to Jeffrey Beeler’s 31 percent.

Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
                                Marcus Naylor and Joshua Schaer.
Naylor leads Eastside judicial race

Results are preliminary.

King County property assessments have begun for some Eastside neighborhoods

County property appraisers visit around one-sixth of all properties in the county each year to ensure the homes are valued correctly.

From left: Samantha Areliz (VALA curator), Marisa Mouton Provo (VALA Communication Director) and Zachary Burns (artist) look upon the Gatesville exhibit at the new VALA Eastside in Kirkland. Madison Miller/staff photo.
VALA Arts moves to Kirkland; changes name to VALA Eastside

VALA Eastside makes Kirkland its permanent home.

Most Read