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As Initiative 300 Gains Support, Some Residents Voice Concerns

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver voters will soon decide on an initiative that would allow camping in public spaces. Initiative 300 also known as the "Right to Survive" initiative will be on the May ballot.

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While a lot attention has been put on the impacts to downtown, homeowners across the city are now voicing their concerns.

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"I don't know what the solution is. Obviously at some point we need some housing for people, affordable housing," Hank Zimmerhackel said.

He lives about a block from Denver's Hutchinson Park.

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If approved initiative 300 would overturn Denver's urban camping ban, allowing anyone to camp on sidewalks, in parks and any public spaces as long as the right of way is not obstructed.

"I'm just worried that it's going to get out of hand," he said.

A letter from the city reinforced his concerns as well as many of his neighbors. The letter lists a number of potential impacts including unenforceable park curfews and public health threats.

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Patric Houghton visits Bible Park daily and has his own concerns about the proposed ordinance.

"There's kids that come into the park, and they don't need to be exposed to the problems and the trash that come with a transient population that continues to stay in the park," Houghton said.

The group behind the initiative, Denver Homeless Out Loud, disagree with the city's assessment. They say the current ordinance strips basic rights from those experiencing homelessness making a difficult situation worse.

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Something most residents say they also recognize.

"I want them to be safe, and I want them to have their abilities to do what they need to do, but I don't think this is the solution for it. I don't think it's a long term solution or the best solution for their well-being either."

A new poll shows the initiative would pass by a nearly 2-1 margin if the election were held today, according to polling.

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