Chief: police need stronger panhandling code

St. Augustine Police Chief Loran Lueders says a stronger code will help police stop aggressive panhandling in an announcement received by Historic City News this morning.

Monday night, the City Commission will consider extending its ban on street corner panhandling to the Davenport Park area and King Street at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, when it reviews a toughened aggressive panhandling ordinance.

Assistant City Attorney Carlos Mendoza returns to the commission Monday with a strengthened ordinance proposal on aggressive panhandling based on commissioners’ comments two weeks ago.

Current city code prohibits threatening, touching, or blocking a person’s path.

Recommended additions include continuing to solicit after refusal, soliciting within 20 feet of an ATM or financial institution, at outdoor dining facilities, at or on transit facilities, persons standing in line, and after dark. “Anywhere people have their wallets out,” concluded one commissioner.

The regular commission meeting begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Alcazar Room at City Hall.

Also on the agenda will be a public hearing and final action on an ordinance regulating large gatherings in short term rentals, presentations on the proposed San Sebastian River bridge replacement, pedestrian access improvements along the bayfront, a policy for loaning city-owned artifacts and a progress report on the installation of mooring fields.

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