Sec. 27-1.1. Obstructing free passage.
Pursuant to the authority granted to the city by the Code of Virginia and its general police powers, the city does hereby adopt the following section for the purpose of ensuring the free passage of pedestrians and vehicles on the public rights-of-way, to ensure free access to public places and to prevent activities that threaten the public safety or threaten a breach of the peace.
(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:
(1) Loiter shall mean to stand around or remain, or to park or remain parked in a motor vehicle at a public place or any other place open to the public and to engage in any conduct prohibited under this law. Loiter also means to collect, gather, congregate, or be a member of a group or a crowd of people, who are gathered together in any public place or any other place open to the public and to engage in any conduct prohibited under this law.
(2) Public place shall mean any public street, road, or highway, alley, land, sidewalk, crosswalk, or
other public way, or any public resort, place of amusement, park, playground, public building or grounds appurtenant thereto, school buildings or school grounds, or public parking lot or any other publicly owned property.
(3) Place open to the public shall mean any place open to the public or any place to which the public is invited or may reasonably expect to be invited, and in, on, or around any privately owned place of business, private parking lot, or private institution, including shopping centers, malls, places of worship, cemeteries, or any place of amusement and entertainment whether or not a charge of admission or entry thereto is made. It includes the elevator, lobby, halls, corridors and areas open to the public of any store, office, or apartment building.
(b) Prohibited conduct. No person shall loiter on the public sidewalks, streets, public rights-of-way or on privately owned property that is open to the public in such a manner as to create any of the following conditions:
(1) No person shall loiter, stand, sit or lie in or upon, or otherwise remain on or collect, gather, congregate or be a member of a group of a crowd of people who are gathered together in or upon any public right-of-way or sidewalk, street, curb, crosswalk, walkway area, mall or any portion of privately owned property that is open to the public or utilized for public use, so as to unreasonably hinder or obstruct the free normal flow or passage of pedestrians or vehicles thereon.
(2) No person shall block or obstruct, or prevent the free access to the entrance to any building open to the public.
(3) No person shall obstruct, molest or interfere or attempt to obstruct, molest or interfere with any person lawfully on or in a public right-of-way, street or highway, in a manner that would cause a reasonable person or pedestrian on a public right-of-way, street or highway to fear for his or her safety.
(4) No person shall engage in any conduct having a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person or persons at whom, individually, such conduct is directed when such conduct occurs on or in a public right-of-way or on any privately owned property open to the public or utilized for public use.
(5) In order to promote the safe and orderly flow of traffic on the public streets and highways, no person shall stop a motor vehicle in such manner as to impede or render dangerous the use of the streets or highways by others and no person shall loiter on or in the public streets or highways for the purpose of engaging the operator of any motor vehicle or any passenger in a motor vehicle in conversation or any other activity while such motor vehicle is stopped on the main-traveled portion of a street or highway.
(c) Nothing herein shall be construed to prohibit a lawful assembly.
(d) Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. (Ord. No. O-92-017, 1-14-92; Ord. No. O-03-172, 10-14-03)
Last updated date: 10/23/2006 4:15:21 PM