Sec. 27-4. Panhandling.
(a) Purpose. 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 in order to ensure the free and safe passage of pedestrians and vehicles on the public rights-of-way, to ensure free and safe access to public areas and to regulate the time, place and manner of activities that could otherwise threaten the public health, safety and welfare, while also protecting the exercise of citizens’ First Amendment rights within the city.
(b) Definitions. The following words and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings:
(1) "Aggressive manner" means:
(i) approaching, speaking to or following a person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to fear an assault, imminent physical injury, or the imminent commission of a criminal act upon the person or upon property in the person’s immediate possession;
(ii) touching another person without that person’s consent;
(iii) intentionally blocking or interfering by any means with the free passage of a person; or
(iv) engaging in any conduct with the intention of intimidating another person into giving money or goods to any person.
(2) "Panhandle" or "panhandling" means doing any of the following acts:
(i) approaching someone to beg, solicit or ask for any item of value, monetary or otherwise;
(ii) attempting to sell or obtain compensation for an item or service for or in an amount that is at least twice its value, or an item or service that is already offered or available at no charge to the general public; or
(iii) attempting to sell or obtain compensation for an item or service under circumstances that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the payment is in substance a donation.
(3) "Public place" means any public highway or street, the median area that separates any two or more public highways or streets, a crosswalk, sidewalk, alley, park, bridge, parking lot or other public property within the city, including any building or other structure, or the grounds surrounding buildings that are open to the general public;
(4) Travel lane means the portion of a public street over which motor vehicles travel.
(c) Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any person while in the city:
(1) to panhandle in an aggressive manner in any public place;
(2) to panhandle in an aggressive manner in any public transportation vehicle, including busses and trains;
(3) to panhandle in an aggressive manner within fifteen (15) feet of any automatic teller machine;
(4) to panhandle while standing or otherwise present in a public highway or street, a travel lane or a crosswalk, from any operator or occupant of a motor vehicle located in a travel lane;
(5) to ask for or solicit money or things of value in exchange for cleaning motor vehicle windows while the vehicle is in traffic on a public street;
(6) to distribute newspapers, newsletters, flyers or any other items to the operator or occupant of a motor vehicle while the vehicle is in traffic on a public street;
(7) to panhandle on private property or residential property, including driveways, parking lots, plazas, buildings, doorways, entrances and the grounds surrounding buildings and service stations, without permission from the owner or occupant; and
(8) to ask for or solicit money or things of value from any operator or occupant of any motor vehicle in a travel lane, while standing, sitting, or otherwise occupying a public highway or street, the median area that separates any public highway or street, or from any area designated as a crosswalk.
(d) Any person convicted of violating this section shall be guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.
(e) If any portion of this section of the city code is for any reason held to be invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this section and such invalid provision or portions thereof shall be severable. (Code 1959, § 22-6; Ord. No. O-00-246, 11-14-00; Ord. No. O-06-020, 2-14-06; Ord. No. O-06-156, 12-12-06)
Last updated date: 12/21/2006 9:09:43 AM