City Council Approves Withdrawing No-Solicitation Zone Ordinance
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
At the close of the City Council Meeting on Monday, March 11, and after conferring with the City Attorney, City Council decided that it will amend the City’s panhandling ordinance to withdraw the downtown no-solicitation zone while retaining the new prohibition on active solicitation within 20 feet of a residential or business entryway. Federal Judge Marsha Krieger affirmed the twenty feet solicitation buffer in February. Council will consider the amended ordinance in two required readings beginning on March 26.
“Both the passage of the new 20’ rule and the installation of the cameras downtown have led to a significant improvement in the safety, comfort, and attractiveness of our downtown. In just their first few months the cameras have successfully led to several arrests, and the City’s focus on stopping persistent and unwanted solicitation in the downtown has greatly reduced that activity. These two initiatives have accomplished most of the purpose of the no solicitation zone, and we, along with the downtown merchants, downtown residents, and our entire community, are pleased with the progress,” said City Attorney Chris Melcher. “At this time it does not make sense for the City to spend additional resources on the ACLU challenge, particularly given that the federal court was not sympathetic to our arguments and additional courts have not yet supported these zones. By withdrawing the no-solicitation zone now, before a trial or a ruling on the merits, the City will conserve resources and retain the option in the future to revisit a zone if it’s needed for the benefit of our community and our downtown.”