Durham News

‘Solicitation’ made easier in Durham

By a unanimous vote Thursday, the City Council approved revised rules for “roadside solicitation,” including panhandlers.

The rules had been scheduled for a vote at Monday night’s regular council meeting but were held to allow city attorneys to clarify some of the language in the proposed ordinance.

City Attorney Patrick Baker said he will continue to investigate how other cities regulate panhandling in residential areas, an issue on which Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden has repeatedly raised concerns.

“We will continue ... to scour the country,” Baker said.

Among other provisions, the revised rules ( bit.ly/1idGUhi) allow:

•  Panhandling and other forms of soliciting on two-way streets;

•  Service animals to accompany disabled solicitors;

•  Solicitors to interact with drivers and/or passengers.

Among other provisions, solicitors may only:

•  Solicit from a paved sidewalk;

•  Solicit from vehicles in traffic lanes closest to the roadside;

•  Approach the passenger side of a stopped vehicle.

The new rules take effect March 22. The previous regulations, which took effect in January 2013, drew complaints from some in the faith community who claimed that they “criminalized poverty” and created difficulty for persons who depend on begging for their livelihoods.