Updates to City Hall Hours on Fridays in July and August 


News Release: Federal Judge Limits City from Enforcing Fire Code for Francisco Blvd. West Illegal Structures 

Posted on June 17, 2024



Federal Judge Limits City from Enforcing Fire Code for Francisco Blvd. West Illegal Structures 


San Rafael, Calif. – On Friday, June 14, Judge Edward Chen of the United States District Court, Northern District limited the City’s planned enforcement of its Fire Code regarding illegal structures along Francisco Blvd. West. The Court’s order has constrained the City’s ability to regulate and mitigate immediate fire risks amongst encampments near and around the Mahon Creek Path.  

On Wednesday, June 12, the City of San Rafael issued notices to seven structures and four tents along Francisco Blvd. West for violations of the City’s Fire Code. The notices initiated a 48-hour period for individuals who constructed the structures illegally to dismantle them and evacuate from the public property. Under the Court’s ruling, the structures must remain in place pending the outcome of appeals of other City notices about illegal structures on public, which are scheduled to take place later this month. Those individuals currently living in the structures will now move into tents along the nearby Mahon Creek Path. 

The City’s efforts come in response to a June 5th fire located at the encampment. The substantial fire spread to the nearby fence of Marin Roofing and damaged electrical equipment associated with a propane tank on their property. Following a June 7th inspection, the San Rafael Fire Department determined that the structures and camping equipment located along Francisco Blvd W. create a hazardous condition and imminent fire risk for all persons in the area, and that the encampment cannot be made safe and must be removed.  

The City has offered to assist individuals with the dismantling and disposal of their structures. The City continues to provide new tents, bedding, storage of personal items, and engage the community of human services providers to mobilize supportive resources. This follows the City’s standard approach as a part of its ongoing commitment to working with individuals experiencing homelessness in a trauma informed and human centered manner.  

This action is the latest in a series of efforts by the City of San Rafael to address the ongoing health and safety concerns located along Francisco Blvd. West, as well as in the nearby Mahon Creek Path and Andersen Drive. Since August 2023, the City has been in litigation over its camping ordinance in Boyd v. City of San Rafael. Since this time, efforts to resolve health and safety issues relating to the encampment have been consistently met with the threat of or actual obstruction by the plaintiffs in Boyd through the Court.  

In May, the City Council adopted a new Camping Ordinance in response to the direction from the Court. However, the implementation of this new ordinance is now pending a hearing on the City’s motion to dismiss the Boyd case. The new camping ordinance would allow the City to enact spacing requirements for camping on public property. In addition to setting maximum campsite sizes, the regulations establish buffer zones from schools, private property lines, and certain types of utility infrastructure.  

“I hear from countless residents, businesses, and other community members on a daily basis about how unacceptable and inhumane this encampment has become,” said Mayor Kate Colin, “Now our ability to enforce our local fire codes, for the safety of these individuals, has been totally restricted. I am deeply concerned for the safety of our individuals experiencing homelessness and exceptionally frustrated that our ability to govern and regulate the health and safety of everyone who calls San Rafael home continues to be hampered.”   

A hearing regarding the dismissal of the Boyd case is set to take place later this summer.  


Media Contact 

John Stefanski, Assistant City Manager 


Close window