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No Panhandling/No Solicitation Area Expanded


1/27/03 - In a 3 to 1 vote Wednesday, the Key West City Commission approved the expansion of the No Panhandling/No Solicitation Area to include additional areas of the historic district. The ordinance went into effect January 23, with enforcement to begin upon the fulfillment of the clause providing for the posting of signs.

The ordinance prohibits panhandling and solicitation in Clinton Square, Mallory Square, at the Southernmost Point, and now also includes Simonton Street, Duval Street and Whitehead Street, between and including Front Street and Angela Street.

One rationale behind expanding the zone was that an extended area "would promote the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Key West." It was also noted in the resolution that the current ban on aggressive panhandling in all public areas was insufficient to protect tourists who frequent the historic district.

Panhandling is defined in the ordinance as, "begging or asking or soliciting money or goods for charity or personal gain, whether by word, bodily gestures, signs or other means."

The ordinance excludes some types of solicitation, such as sales by those with a mobile vendor's license, a coconut palm frond permit, or "a person whose offered good or service is artistic in nature," such as a street performer.

Prior to the expansion, enforcement of the original No Panhandling/No Solicitation Area did lead to many warnings as well as arrests, contrary to some reports that the law had never been enforced. The law, however, has never been challenged in court on constitutional or other grounds and remains in full effect.

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(Full text of aforementioned ordinances follow)

 

Sec. 42-11. No panhandling/no solicitation areas.

a) Definitions

Clinton Square shall mean that area of the Historic District, including its streets and sidewalks, and its interior park, bounded by Whitehead Street from Greene Street to Front Street, Front Street from Whitehead Street/David Wolkowsky Street to Greene Street, and Greene Street from Front Street to Whitehead Street.

Mallory Square shall mean the entire dimensions of Mallory Square including its pier, parking lot, the Waterfront Playhouse, the Sculpture Garden, and that portion of any other structure facing Mallory Square; Tift Alley; and Wall Street from the perimeter wall of the Mallory Square Parking Lot to Fitzpatrick Street

Panhandling shall mean begging or asking or soliciting money or goods for charity or personal gain, whether by word, bodily gestures, signs or other means.

Solicitation shall mean an offer by a person to perform a service or to sell a good in exchange for money or other type of compensation. For the purposes of this section, solicitation shall not mean such an offer by: (i) a person who holds an occupational license issued by the city for a business location when the offer is made at such location; (ii) a person who holds a mobile vendor's license, a coconut palm frond permit, or other specific license or permit issued by the city; or (iii) a person whose offered good or service is artistic in nature.

Southernmost Point shall mean that area of the Historic District, including the Southernmost Point Monument and including the sidewalks and streets bounded by South Street from Duval Street to Whitehead Street and Whitehead Street from South Street to United Street.

(b) Prohibition. Panhandling and solicitation are prohibited in Clinton Square, Mallory Square, and at the Southernmost Point. Panhandling and solicitation are prohibited on Simonton Street, Duval Street and Whitehead Street between and including Front Street and Angela Street.The city manager shall post signs in each area advising the public of this prohibition.
(c) Penalty. A violation of this section shall be punishable in accordance with section 1-15 of the Code of Ordinances.

(Ord. No. 02-13, 1, 5-7-02)

Sec. 42-3. Aggressive or obstructive panhandling.

(a) The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

Aggressively beg means to beg with the intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods.

Beg means to ask or solicit for money or goods as a charity, whether by word, bodily gestures, signs, or other means.




Intimidate means to engage in conduct which would make a reasonable person fearful or feel compelled. Among the circumstances that may be considered in determining whether the actor intends to intimidate another person into giving money or goods are that the actor refuses to identify himself or manifestly
endeavors to conceal himself or any object. Unless flight by the person or other circumstance makes it impracticable, a law enforcement officer shall, prior to any arrest for an offense under this section, afford the person an opportunity to dispel any alarm or immediate concern which would otherwise be warranted by requesting him whether the actor:

(1) Touches the person solicited;

(2) Follows the person solicited, and persists in begging after the person solicited has given a negative response;

(3) Directs profane or abusive language toward the person solicited; or

(4) Acts in a violent or threatening manner toward the person solicited

Obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic means to walk, stand, sit, lie, or place an object in such a manner as to block passage by another person or a vehicle, or to require another person or a driver of a vehicle to take unreasonable evasive action to avoid physical contact.

Public place means an area accessible to the public and includes alleys, bridges, buildings, decks, driveways, parking lots, parks, plazas, sidewalks, school grounds, streets and other rights-of-way open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them.

Unreasonable evasive action means causing a vehicle to depart from the lane of traffic in which it is traveling to change lanes, to straddle lanes, or to enter onto a swale to obtain passage; it also means causing a pedestrian to leave the sidewalk on which he is traveling or to make contact with a wall or fence bordering the sidewalk.

b) A person shall be guilty of aggressive or obstructive interference if, in a public place, he intentionally (i) aggressively begs, or (ii) obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Acts authorized as an exercise of one's constitutional right of assembly and free speech and acts authorized by a permit or a special events license duly issued by the city or by lease of real property owned by the city shall not constitute a violation under this section.

c) A violation of this section shall be punishable as provided in section 1-15. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the discretion of police, court personnel or judges from referring persons suspected, charged or convicted of a violation of this section to treatment programs or facilities that provide an alternative to prosecution or incarceration, if the alleged or convicted violator consents.

(Code 1986, 81.03)

 

CONTACT:
Kelly L. Haglund, Public Information Officer
305-292-8143
khaglund@keywestcity.com

 

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