During the recent meeting of the St Augustine City Commission, the mayor and commissioners voted unanimously to move an ordinance to its final reading and public hearing. The wide-ranging ordinance regulates city parks, venues, and facilities, and would affect things such as group feedings, and assemblies.
The final reading and a public hearing needed to enact the proposed ordinance could be heard as early as next Monday, March 23, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., when the city commissioners meet again in open session.
- The ordinance would require a permit for assemblies on city rights-of-way and at city parks or venues with more than 50 people in attendance that require a closure to maintain the safe flow of pedestrians or traffic. That would include demonstrations, concerts, and ceremonies.
The ordinance has a long list of prohibited activities for city-owned or controlled parks, venues, and facilities. The prohibited activities would include, among other things:
- lying on a table
- hanging a hammock
- sleeping or hanging out in bushes
- building a shelter
- leaving personal property unattended
- setting a fire outside of approved fire pits
- cooking where it is not allowed
- picking flowers
- putting up signs
- bathing in a water fountain or reservoir
- capturing or chasing wildlife
- using public bathrooms to bathe
- failing to remove dog poop
- amplifying sound or music without a permit
Large group feedings at a park, venue or facility owned or controlled by the city would have to have a Large Group Feeding Permit. But such events wouldn’t be allowed at some parks, including the Plaza de la Constitucion and Fish Island.
The Dining with Dignity program feeds people at a Bridge Street lot, but that program won’t be forced to change because of the ordinance. According to the city attorney, the ordinance would allow the program to get a license to continue operations in the same spot.