City Commissioners Monday unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting people from soliciting donations along a public road.
The new law, which was approved on first reading Monday night, would replace a repealed ordinance, called ordinance 23-1, that prohibited panhandlers from using signs to ask for money.
The new ordinance No. 13-5060 specifies “that no person shall go upon or alongside a public road to solicit or attempt to solicit donations, contributions, employment, business, sales or exchanges from occupants of motor vehicles; providing that no person shall go upon or alongside a public road to distribute or attempt to distribute products or materials to occupants of motor vehicles; and further providing that no person shall go upon a public road to display advertising of any kind.”
The city’s former sign-holding law was repealed in January. Circuit Court Judge Rick DeFuria said the ordinance violated federal free-speech protections by prohibiting panhandlers from holding signs that solicit money from passing motorists. City Attorney Bob Fournier drafted a new ordinance to replace the repealed law.
In other items, commissioners:
• Moved forward with plans to sell a parcel of Palm Avenue land to Floridays Development Co., which plans to build a boutique arts hotel.
Floridays President Angus Rogers said his team is finalizing an architectural plan designed to be “timeless” and has added an extra 20 rooms to the now 200-room, 9-story arts-theme hotel.
The project, however, is at least two months from being a done deal. The city still needs to work out a redevelopment agreement and parking agreement with Floridays. In addition, the project is on hold because of a pending lawsuit against the city from a previous developer.
• Directed City Manager Tom Barwin in a 5-0 vote to establish an ad hoc committee charged with studying possible ordinances regulating downtown sound. The committee will consider possible “long-term” solutions.
The committee will be made up of five to seven community members.
• Removed tandem parking from a zoning text amendment proposed on Golden Gate Point.