City of Port Orange Approves Ordinance to Reduce Panhandling.
Written by Kristen Schmutz
Belden Communications News
At a special meeting held by the Port Orange City Council Tuesday, a unanimous vote to reduce panhandling in certain areas of the city.
The new ordinance that was adopted Tuesday limits how and where people can panhandle while restricting those from “aggressive panhandling.”
According to the new ordinance, aggressive panhandling and begging usually includes approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive requests for donations of money despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language, unwanted physical contact, and the intentional, or an incident to the aggressive panhandling and begging, blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
"We're targeting bad behavior, we're targeting making sure the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens are accounted for,” Mayor Donald Burnette said, during the meeting.
Other limitations from the ordinance restrict how close panhandle4rs can be to certain roads, businesses and activities.
“Officers will begin enforcing the ordinance immediately, but their goal is to educate not arrest,” Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi said. "Like we would with any law if it's being broken, we would explain to the violator how they're breaking the law and then we'd ask for compliance. Hopefully, they comply. That's what we're looking for.”
Michael Kahn is special counsel to the city of Port Orange, who also helped the Daytona Beach City Commission write their panhandling ordinance a few months back. Kahn wrote the ordinance to protect both the people being solicited as well as the panhandlers themselves.
“We are not prohibiting panhandling. We're regulating it and there's a huge difference there,” Kahn said.
The new ordinance goes into effect immediately.
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