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SNIAGRAB Campers Get Special Permit To Stake Tents

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Tents line the sidewalk outside the Sports Authority Sports Castle in downtown Denver over Labor Day weekend 2011. (credit: CBS)

Tents line the sidewalk outside the Sports Authority Sports Castle in downtown Denver over Labor Day weekend 2011. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- Bargain hunters will soon begin staking tents outside the Sports Authority Sports Castle in downtown Denver for their annual SNIAGRAB sale over Labor Day weekend. This will occur again this year despite a camping ban in city limits.

The camping outside the store on city sidewalks will be allowed because the store received a special permit.

“This is an exception to the rule and this is not, shall we say, open season on camping,” said Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown.

The ordinance was highly criticized as a measure to outlaw homelessness. Giving Sports Authority the green light for campers is an extension of what the city has always done.

“They always have applied and received street occupancy permits because they close down a portion of the street for that event,” said Denver Public Works spokeswoman Ann Williams.

City Council representatives said that SNIAGRAB was directly considered in drafting the camping ban and that the other camping targeted by the city ordinance had no end in sight and was bad for the city’s image.

Denver’s City Council passed the ban on public camping after months of protests and police conflicts from the Occupy Denver movement.

“I thought it was disgusting. And then you see the homeless move in with those folks. It was a one-two hit,” said Brown.

Denver Public Works said anyone can get a permit to camp on the sidewalks provided they have $1 million in insurance.

Sports Authority applied for the permit in July.

“They’re able to monitor that area and keep control of that area as the adjacent property owner,” said Williams.

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