Boise takes another look at panhandling ordinances

Credit: Adam Worthington / KTVB

Boise takes another look at panhandling ordinances

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 27, 2013 at 10:20 PM

BOISE -- Mayor Bieter and the Boise City Council are looking at a "civil sidewalk" ordinance, hoping to curb panhandling. They want to hear from the public on what should change.

The streets of Boise are home to many restaurants and businesses. They are also a place where some participate in panhandling.

"We've had business owners around town for several years that have felt that the number of panhandlers within the city has gone up," said Adam Park, of the City of Boise. "Part of that may be due to the downturn in the economy, part of it may be the fact that the city is growing."

The city looked at three ordinances on the topic in May, and have now boiled it down to two ordinances. Tuesday, the mayor and city council are looking at two "civil sidewalk" ordinances in a public hearing.

"It's an expansion of an existing ordinance the city already had on its books," said Park. "And what it would do, is it would increase, it would put greater restrictions on soliciting for money, or panhandling around the city."

The possible ordinances have some worried about the impact on homeless people around the city.

"One of the important things that we always want to stress is that panhandlers aren't necessarily homeless. In fact many times, they're not. And homeless don't often panhandle," Park said.

The city is encouraging people to give money to local organizations instead of panhandlers.

"What we've always tried to do is divert charitable donations away from panhandlers and instead to organizations that can really help people in need," said Park.

Tuesday, the city is looking to hear from the public on the ordinances.

"Anyone who wants can come down, they'll have three minutes to stand before the mayor and council and give their comments, whatever they may be, on the proposed ordinances," said Park.

After Tuesday's public hearing, the mayor and city council will decide whether to place the ordinances on the formal reading calendar for approval.

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