CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Queen City News was the first to bring to light an uptown condominium dealing with a disgusting problem: a woman using their common spaces as her own personal restroom. Now, more Uptown residents have come forward with similar complaints.
“Our beloved city is at a very dangerous tipping point,” said one Uptown resident at Monday night’s City Council meeting.
He was accompanied by 36 other residents who had concerns about public defecation and public alcohol consumption around Charlotte.
“Over the summer, my granddaughter and I were, specifically, walking to the Discovery Center when a female publicly defecated in front of the Discovery Center with no regard to individuals entering the Discovery Center,” one woman said.
In September 2021, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law legislation that decriminalized a number of city ordinances.
The following Spring, Charlotte City Council reinstated some as criminal offenses but did not include public consumption of alcohol and public urination and defecation.
“We see a city where some people while away the days all day and every day in our parks and sidewalks drinking alcohol and drunkenly harassing other people,” one person stated. “We see a city where vagrants urinate and defecate feces on public spaces. We see a city that had, with noble intentions, allowed critical ordinances to evaporate last year.”
Center City residents want the ordinances restored, but some wonder if overcriminalization would unfairly target the homeless population.
In a 2019 blog post from Jessica Smith, the Director of UNC’s Criminal Justice Innovation Lab, she argues criminalizing activity that relates to homelessness can also criminalize poverty.
Others believe these concerns, while considerate, are misplaced.
“It is neither safe, nor healthy, nor dignified for anyone, especially the unhoused, who are left with so few choices to have to live among the drinking, binges and feces and urine that’re now found in our downtown,” one Uptown resident said.
The Housing, Safety and Community Committee is reviewing some of these ordinances and plans to address, not only these issues but also homelessness in the Queen City.