UPDATED: Commission targets tents in 'emergency resolution'
(WRCB) - Hamilton County Commission has formed a task force to address what they are calling "illegal tents" on county property.
While not addressing Occupy Chattanooga protesters specifically, commissioners are discussing a plan that would call for the removal the tents at an encampment on the Courthouse lawn.
The Occupy Chattanooga encampment was established on November 1st.
Commissioners say they do not want to infringe upon the rights of others, and are being very careful with the wording of the resolution.
Commission Chairman Larry Henry wanted to emphasize that the commission is not calling for the removal of the protesters.
Commissioners say tents are often not occupied, which raises concern about "illegal activity" throughout the day. Commissioners also cited numerous calls and complaints received about the tents.
The move was conducted as an "emergency resolution", which allowed the resolution to be added to the agenda without notice. Chairman Henry tells Eyewitness News commissioners have been crafting the resolution for some time.
Representatives from Occupy Chattanooga were not present at the meeting and told Eyewitness News they had no knowledge of today's resolution.
"They've been at every meeting," Chairman Henry tells Channel 3. "I had no reason to assume they would not be here today."
Several commissioners say the topic is very touchy. Commissioner Joe Graham is opposed to the resolution.
Commissioners voted 8-1 to allow Chairman Henry and Vice Chairman Fred Skillern to pass laws against the encampment as needed.
Chairman Henry says he's had several meeting with members of the encampment in the past.