For years, the City of Casper, unknown to most everybody, prohibited camping within city limits, including on private property.

The overly general ordinance banned overnight backyard sleepovers with the kids and their friends, the relatives with their campers on driveways, and the recreational vehicles and their occupants — with permission — parked at Walmart.

So the Casper City Council tentatively approved removing the prohibition at a work session Tuesday, vice mayor Shawn Johnson said.

The revised ordinance still will forbid people from camping on public property such as city parks.

However, the initial proposed changes included time limits on how long people could, for example, allow people to stay in a camper on someone’s driveway or at a business.

That drew a sharp rebuke from council member Ken Bates.

“I don’t think we should regulate business at all,” Bates said. “If they want to let them stay for five nights, that’s their choice.”

On the other hand, Mike Huber said he was concerned about businesses running construction projects and inviting workers to camp on their property for months at a time, and in effect creating man camps.

That could lead to public safety and sanitation issues, Huber said.

He added he’s known of people parking recreational vehicles on their property and renting them.

Chris Walsh, on the other hand, wondered if time limits on camping might be a solution in search of a problem.

Tourism is a major industry, and even events such as the Eclipse in 2017 didn’t cause problems with people camping, Walsh said.

After the work session, Johnson said the city attorney will rewrite the ordinance to reflect the council’s desire to change it, and then it will be placed on the agenda of an upcoming meeting for a formal vote.

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