RANDALL BENTON / rbenton@sacbee.com

Tents line a path at Hangtown Haven, a camp for the homeless in Placerville. With 40 residents and room to accommodate 60, the camp got homeless people out of the forest and parks.

Group to request moving Placerville homeless campground

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B
Last Modified: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 - 1:54 pm

An organization that has operated a legal campground for homeless people in Placerville for the past year will present a request Sept. 10 to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to move the operation to county-owned land west of town.

Art Edwards, president of Hangtown Haven Inc., said the organization will present its proposal to the board at 2 p.m. He said the supervisors are expected to act on the request in October.

Edwards said the current site, on private property in the 1600 block of Broadway, is too close to the heavily traveled Placerville thoroughfare.

The special use permit the city granted for the pilot project expires in November, and due to safety concerns, the organization seeks to move the operation to a county-owned parcel on Perks Court, south of Highway 50 and east of Missouri Flat Road.

Edwards has said that he hopes the success of the Placerville campground, which opened last summer serving about 30 people at any one time, will persuade county officials to approve the location.

Hangtown Haven proposes to transition from tent camping to a complex of two-person "microhouses," 8-foot-by-12-foot prefabricated structures that homeless people can assemble on the site.

Plans call for fencing that would screen the campground from the view of area residents and Highway 50 motorists.

Edwards credited Placerville Mayor Wendy Thomas with making the vision of a legal campground a reality.

Thomas, who owns property in Placerville's Broadway commercial district and operated a business there for 17 years, said she was keenly aware of the effect of the homeless population on area businesses and residents. She described the legal campground as a "place for people to reset their lives."

Hangtown Haven's goal, Edwards said, is to help people land jobs and find a place to live within six months.

Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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