Update: Council voted 9-0 to adopt the amended ordinance.
On Tuesday, September 18, 2012, the Greensboro City Council will consider changes to Chapter 20, Article IV. – Persons Begging Or Soliciting Alms For Personal Gain, which is more commonly known as the panhandling ordinance. The ordinance was enacted in 2003 and requires that all panhandlers be registered and licensed and that they comply with all provisions of the ordinance.
A summary of the currently proposed changes:
- Prohibits panhandling within 100 feet of a financial institution or ATM [Prohibited at 20 feet in the current ordinance, Sec. 20-69. - Place (7)]
- Limits panhandling to sidewalks [ Sec. 20-69. - Place (10) ]; prohibits panhandling from medians, curbs, shoulders, crosswalks, roadways [ Sec. 20-69. - Place (10) ]
- Prohibits panhandling within 1,000 feet of an entrance or exit from a U.S. Highway or Interstate [ Sec. 20-69. - Place (11) ]
- Changes denial of permit times for violent offenders; no panhandling license within 5 years of a Class E felony, 10 years of a Class D felony or 20 years of a homicide [Sec. 20-72. - Privilege license required. (c) (2-4)]
- Allows for an appeal of a refused or revoked permit [Sec. 20-72. - Privilege license required. (g)]
The amended ordinance also moves the prohibition against panhandling while under the influence of drugs or alcohol from Sec. 20-69. – Place (10) to Sec. 20-70. – Manner (7), with a slight change of wording.
Documents from City of Greensboro:
- Executive summary of changes to panhandling summary 12 September 2012
- Agenda Item 20 – Changes to Greensboro Panhandling Ordinance 18 September 2012
The Greensboro Police Department began its review of the current panhandling ordinance in response to citizen complaints. The proposed changes address both public safety and traffic safety concerns. The changes conform to North Carolina General Statutes regulating pedestrian and panhandling activities.
The City Council previously amended the panhandling ordinance in 2010 to clarify what constitutes a educational facility; to require background checks on applicants for panhandling licenses and to require that panhandlers display their licenses in a visible manner at all times while soliciting funds.