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Title: 9 - Public Peace, Morals and Safety

Chapter: 20 - Prohibition of abusive panhandling

Section: 10 - Purpose

In order to protect and promote the rights of the general public to be free from inappropriate conduct and from the potential physical confrontations sometimes associated with panhandling, the Board of Supervisors finds that there is a need to adopt a County Ordinance which imposes reasonable and specific time, place, and manner limitations on those forms of inappropriate and unlawful conduct which may be associated with aggressive panhandling.  At the same time, the Board of Supervisors seeks to properly and duly recognize, as well as fully protect to the full extent possible, the First Amendment free speech rights of all concerned.
The Board of Supervisors also finds that balancing the need for public safety with the need to duly protect constitutional rights is especially critical in popular retail and visitor-serving areas of the County since these areas are popular public gathering spaces and are often crowded with member of the public and visitors to Del Norte County. It is the intent of the Board in enacting this Ordinance to improve the quality of life and economic vitality of the county, and to protect the safety of the general public against certain abusive conduct of persons engaged in solicitation, by imposing reasonable manner and place restrictions on solicitation while respecting the constitutional rights of free speech for all citizens.
The Board of Supervisors also finds that an increase in aggressive solicitation throughout the County has become extremely disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses, and has contributed not only to the loss of access to and enjoyment of public places, but also to an enhanced sense of fear, intimidation and disorder.
The Board of Supervisors also finds that aggressive panhandling usually includes approaching or following pedestrians, the use of abusive language, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The Board further finds that presence of individuals who solicit money from persons at or near bands or automated teller machines is especially threatening and dangerous. Motorists also find themselves confronted by persons who without permission wash their automobile windows at traffic intersections, despite explicit indication by drivers not to do so. Such activity often carries with it an implicit threat to both person and property. People driving or parking on County streets frequently find themselves faced with panhandlers seeking money by offering to perform a service such as opening car doors or locating parking spaces.
The Board of Supervisors further find as abusive the solicitation of people in places where they are a captive audience in which it is impossible of difficult for them to exercise their own right to decline to listen to or to avoid solicitation form others. Such places include buses, parking lots, and indoor and outdoor dining areas. Restricting solicitation in such places will provide a balance between the rights of solicitors and the rights of persons who wish to decline or avoid such solicitations, and will help avoid or diminish the threat of violence in such unwarranted and unavoidable confrontations.
The Boars of Supervisors observe that this Ordinance is timely and appropriate because current laws and County regulations are insufficient to address this problem. The restriction contained herein are neither overbroad nor vague and are narrowly tailored to serve a substantial governmental interest. The goal of this Ordinance is to protect citizens from the fear and intimidation accompanying certain kinds of solicitation that have become an unwelcome and overwhelming presence in the county.
Finally, the Board of Supervisors finds that this Ordinance will not impact the content of any protected forms of expressive statements made by a panhandler or otherwise improperly restrict anyone ' s First Amendment rights.
 (Ord. 2010-003 ยง 1 (part), 2010.)