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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Fort Smith Code Enforcement amends ordinance to ban tent dwelling within city limits

Earlier this month Fort smith officials amended the ordinance surrounding the use of tents as dwellings within the city limits. The Department of Code Enforcement issued the following press release;

"Throughout the City of Fort Smith, we are witnessing multiple areas where tents have been set up for habitation purposes. By definition a tent does not meet the minimum requirements of a dwelling unit.

We wish for all who dwell within the city limits to be safe, have adequate protection from weather and access to the required facilities for hygiene purposes.

  • Tents do not provide the minimum standards or safeguards for habitation.

  • A tent does not meet the criteria of dwelling unit which is required to be connected to city water and sewer. Must have both potable water and hot water for cooking and hygiene purposes in accordance with the Arkansas State Plumbing code.

  • Tents cannot not be secured to safeguard life and property.

  • Tents do not afford adequate protection from extreme elements such as high winds, lightening, tornados, extreme heat and extreme cold temperatures etc.

Sec. 16-4 Care of Premises It shall be unlawful for either the owner or occupant of a residential or nonresidential building, structure or property to utilize the premises of such property for the open storage of any abandoned or inoperable motor vehicle, household appliance or household furniture (regardless of working condition), tents, camping accessories, tires, tools, boxes, tubs, exercise equipment, inoperable lawn equipment, bathroom fixtures, mattresses, box springs, glass, building material, building rubbish or similar items.

Additionally, it shall be the duty and responsibility of every such owner and occupant to keep the premises of such property clean and to remove from such premises all such items as listed above, including but not limited to, weeds, dead trees, tree limbs, trash and garbage upon written notice from a designated code official.

If you have a question in regards to the newly adopted ordinance changes, please email our office @

If you know of a tent within the city limits set up for habitational purposes and would like to report your concern, please contact our office at (479)784-1031."

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