Time slip on beggar ban plan; now seen for council Aug. 27
Once sought at the start of summer, a no-panhandling ordinance to include parts of the Westside is now not expected to go to City Council until the end of August.
According to Steve Cox of the mayor's office, the recent Waldo Canyon Fire contributed to the delay. “This fire and the recovery efforts have taken a month out of our lives, and there's still a lot of work involved,” he said in a phone interview.
As proposed, the ordinance would make it illegal for beggars to ply their trade in the downtown and along Colorado Avenue from Old Colorado City west to the Manitou city limits. Supporters (led by a law enforcement/citizen task force) believe this will help the effort to reduce crime and improve commerce in those areas.
Original plans had called for City Council to see an ordinance draft at its second informal meeting in June, but the fire caused the entire meeting to be cancelled. The next hope for the task force had been July 24. However, with certain legal issues still not pinned down, the goal now is the Aug. 27 informal meeting, with the possibility of ordinance passage at the council formal meeting Sept. 11.
“We want to make sure everyone is on board,” Cox said, referring to elected officials and city attorneys as well as the American Civil Liberties Union. “It's a complicated process. Some communities have done it [passed such a law], and a few have had legal challenges.”
At a public meeting in June, attended by about 60 people at the Shrine Club, attendees overwhelmingly supported not only the ordinance as proposed but a nix on citywide panhandling as well.
However, city officials have explained that the latter could lead to constitutional challenges. In any case, there is a current city law that a panhandler can only ask once for a handout - any more requests from the same person is considered “aggressive panhandling,” according to police.
Westside Pioneer article