With a much overdue sigh of relief, downtown residents and shopkeepers in the city’s historic preservation district, enjoyed the first day since the adoption of Ordinance 2018-06, the City of St. Augustine’s new restrictions on panhandling that took effect on April 6, 2018.
Historic City News has followed the menagerie of beggars, vagrants, and aggressive panhandlers that exploded last year in Constitution Plaza as well as the Historic Downtown Parking Facility and the tourist-filled St. George Street. A “watch group” of citizens set up shifts to observe, photograph, and report, health and safety hazards, aggressive panhandling, and petty crimes brought on by the transient population.
An unbelievably poor decision recommended by City Attorney Isabelle Lopez and implemented as policy by City Manager John Regan, that allowed police to stand down from enforcement of the former panhandling ordinances after a community near Tampa lost an appeal on an individual case brought on their ordinances — which Lopez said were modeled after ours. The result was chaos.
The new ordinance prohibits aggressive panhandling and allows enforcement of distance based regulations that designate restricted areas in which panhandling and begging are not permitted.
The City Attorney’s office developed a brief PowerPoint presentation that offers a succinct description of the ordinance, the restricted areas, and sample maps illustrating those areas. To access that presentation, Begging, Panhandling, And Solicitation, click here.
Maps showing restricted areas are available for the entire city divided into 76 sections so as to offer greater detail for users. Here’s how to access a map:
- First, use the Panhandling Ordinance Map Directory to determine the number of an area map.
- Then click on the link below corresponding to the selected map’s number.
- Using the “figure number” in the top left corner of the map, scroll to the specific map.
Using the directory, the area around St. George St. and Cathedral Place is determined to be on Map 33. Then by clicking on the Area Map 17-33 link and following the figure number in the top left corner of each map, Figure 1-33 is located.