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Council acts on downtown behavior ordinances

The city Council has approved an ordinance to prohibit “intrusive solicitation” and has given its initial approval to an ordinance that will prohibit people from obstructing sidewalks and walkways.  The city’s current sidewalk obstruction ordinance prohibits obstructing walkways with dogs or objects.

The intrusive solicitation ordinance prohibits panhandling within 20 feet of an ATM or the entrance of a financial institution, or requesting money from people seated at an outdoor or indoor area of a restaurant.  A proposal to prohibit passing money from a vehicle to a person in a public right-of-way was removed from the ordinance before the Council voted to approve it. This ordinance will become effective on May 17.

The sidewalk obstruction ordinance prohibits intentionally blocking a sidewalk. Obstruction is generally defined as leaving less than 6 feet of clear passage space on a sidewalk. Intent is proven by failure to within five minutes of being warned by a law enforcement officer. This ordinance was approved on first reading and will return to the Council for second reading and final approval at the Council business meeting on May 3, 2016. The Council meeting begins at 7 PM in the Council chambers at 1175 East Main St.  Additional public input will be taken only on changes that are made to the ordinance between first and second reading.

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