Burlington landowner cleans out homeless camp

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Another homeless camp in the Burlington area is being cleared out, but this time it's on private property.

Crews could be seen Tuesday cutting down trees on the private wooded parcel along Pine Street.

Remnants of the former homeless camp including tents, garbage and needles were scattered all over the now-tilled field.

The owner of the land, Rick Davis, says the area was an active homeless camp. He says that police posted no trespassing signs but did not assist in any actual removal of those who were there.

Davis says they were targeting small trees and brush and not cutting down large trees. The notice also states vegetation maintenance, invasive species control, and waste control and disposal were reasons for the clear-out.

"There are health issues and safety issues and it's really unfortunate because these people are looking for someplace to stay, so there needs to be some sort of long-term decision for the homeless people. This is not the solution, to have them camped out there," Davis said.

He added it's been 20 years since the property has been cleaned out and that he plans to put it on the market

The clearing out of the encampment comes after the state recently cleared out a similar one off of I-89 in South Burlington.

Burlington's policy of eviction of homeless camps has been challenged by the ACLU and remains tied up in a federal lawsuit.

Some community leaders say they're unclear of the benefits of the policy. Occupants of the camps have told WCAX that affordable housing is part of the problem and that they will just find another place to camp.