Occupy Raleigh camp given legal OK
Posted December 1, 2011
Raleigh, N.C. — A new base camp for Occupy Raleigh protesters near downtown so far appears to be in compliance with the law, Wake County and Raleigh city officials say.
Rob Baumgart, who owns a Sprint and Nextel sales company called Chatterbox Communications, is leasing a 2,500-square-foot lot near West and Edenton streets to Occupy Raleigh protesters for $400 a month.
Protesters set up about 15 tents on the lot Thanksgiving Day. They're using the space to organize, sleep and eat while they picket at the Capitol Building downtown. The camp does not have electricity, but protesters have brought portable generators so they so can cook and run small heaters, as well as a library.
City officials said camping in small, personal tents is allowed in the business district with no time limits. Port-a-johns are allowed so long as they are cleaned.
Fire officials said open fires, such as grills, are permitted if they're used for warmth or cooking.
Raleigh police said they will not permanently keep an officer at the camp, as they do during protests at the Capitol. Instead, police said they will respond to calls or complaints as necessary.
City and county officials said they have gotten calls reporting possible code or zoning violations, but so far, they haven't seen any evidence of one.
As long as protesters don't block the sidewalk or threaten public safety, city officials said they can stay indefinitely.