Ringgold City Council passes emergency ordinance banning homelessness

From left are Councilman Larry Black, Councilwoman Sarah Clark and Mayor Nick Millwood discuss city business at a recent Council meeting inside Ringgold City Hall.

With an outcry from neighbors about recently released sex offenders living under a nearby bridge, the Ringgold City Council unanimously passed an emergency ordinance banning homelessness Monday night.

The council's "urban camping" ordinance bans tents, "other temporary structures," clothes, sleeping bags, cookware or luggage from public property. The police department will give violators a written warning, ordering them to leave within 24 hours. After that, officers can write tickets to the homeless, and a municipal court judge can fine them up to $1,000, send them to jail for up to 60 days or order them to perform community service.

Councilman Larry Black first pushed for the ban last month after neighbors complained about four or five men living under a bridge that crosses Highway 41 at South Chickamauga Creek. Black later