HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Better move your stuff. Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle signed Bill 54 into law today which means people clogging up sidewalks and parks are breaking the law.
The mayor says the law is constitutional and he isn't worried about any legal challenges that are likely to follow.
Mayor Carlisle's signature made it possible for city crews to remove personal property being stored in public spaces.
"Really what Bill 54 is all about is fairness. It's about making sure our streets, our sidewalks, our thoroughfares and our parks are safe open and accessible for all people in our community," said Tulsi Gabbard, Honolulu City Councilmember who introduced the bill.
Here's how the law will work. City Department of Facility Maintenance workers will spot the stuff, post a warning, come back 24 hours later, photograph the belongings, bag and tag it, load it up, store it at city base yards around the island, wait 30 days, notify the owner if they don't pick up their stuff it will be thrown away or sold if it's worth more than a $1,000. It's a big job but the city says they don't need to hire more workers or expect employees to collect overtime. But it will be a time consuming process.
"It is but it's worth the effort. We don't want this to continue to be a blight on the beauty of the place where we live. Other people have rights to access those areas without having to deal with this type of mess and misery," said Mayor Carlisle.
The city council has been called insensitive by homeless advocates but there comes a time when something has to be done.
"We need to create some disincentives for those residing in public areas," said Ernie Martin, Honolulu City Council Chair.
"Frankly it's what we should be doing as good stewards of this land," said Mayor Carlisle.
The city is still working on the finer details. The law is effective now but it's unknown when it will start to be enforced.
There isn't a hotline to report violators but you can call the city or your council member to report a complaint.
The city will also have homeless services available for anyone affected by the law.