Zanesville City Council’s ordinance regarding panhandling and enterprise solicitation has been passed.
After taking up the ordinance which had been tabled at the last meeting, Council approved an amendment to allow 501(c)(3) organizations to apply for a permit to solicit in the right of way if approved by the public safety director. All others caught soliciting funds on public property would be in violation of the law.
"We have quite a few service groups within the city who do utilize the streets and the right of way for fundraising activities and have had a pretty good track record, in fact, no injuries over the entire course of all of them doing it," said Councilman Andrew Roberts. "There have been different safety precautions put into place so that they are safe."
Public Safety Director Fred Buck said organizations who are approved will not be able to do fundraising on main roads such as Maple Avenue or Underwood, and instead will be assigned lesser traveled streets. Some citizens voiced concerns that the law would be difficult to enforce. If people are holding signs that do not specifically ask for money, it would not be illegal for someone to give it to them. Even with those concerns, Roberts still said the law will be effective.
"Just the general safety concerns–you have people stepping out into traffic, granted that is against the law right now, but it’s hard for the police to actually sit there and wait for them to step out into traffic," Roberts said. "This gives them a little bit more leeway to just kind of say, ‘Hey guys, move it along, or you’re going to get cited.’"
The law makes a first offense a minor misdemeanor. Those with two violations in one year would face third degree misdemeanor charges.