Kure Beach adopts revised, more specific panhandling ordinance

Kure Beach adopts revised, more specific panhandling ordinance
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:28 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:17 PM EDT
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KURE BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - The Kure Beach Town Council approved an amendment to their soliciting and panhandling ordinance at their meeting on Monday, August 15. The new rules remove the permits previously required by the law while restricting soliciting in more scenarios and adding a fine.

Previously, the town’s ordinance prohibited solicitation on public streets, sidewalks, thoroughfares, public parks, public beach strands and public municipal buildings with the exception of non-profits or a person or group with a permit. Near the end of the code in a section titled “Permit Required for Begging,” it specified that it was illegal for anybody to “engage in the business of soliciting of alms or begging charity for his benefit or for the benefit of any other person” within the town without a permit.

To get a permit, a person needed apply with the Kure Beach Police Department. The application appeared to be tailored towards businesses with references to employment and goods and services, but the Chief of Police made the final call. If they determined that applicant “is a person of good moral character and proposes to engage in a lawful commercial or professional enterprise,” then they could issue a permit.

The approved ordinance, brought by Kure Beach Town Attorney James Eldridge, includes more exact definitions and provisions against soliciting in an “aggressive manner.” If a person is found in violation of the ordinance, the town can issue a civil penalty of $50 that they could recover like debt if it isn’t paid within 72 hours. Mentions of a permit have been removed from the town’s ordinance.

In a section titled “prohibited acts,” the town wrote:

“It shall be illegal and a violation of this Article for any person to solicit, beg, and/or request money or other thing of value:

  • A. In an aggressive or intimidating manner.
  • B. While under the influence of alcohol or after having illegally used any controlled substance as defined in the North Carolina Controlled Substances Act.
  • C. After sunset or before sunrise.
  • D. In any vehicle owned and operated by the Town.
  • E. In any vehicle owned and operated by the Cape Fear Public Transportation Authority (Wave Transit) or at any station or stop for such vehicle.
  • F. Within the improved sections of the Town’s public right-of-ways unless the solicitor is participating in and as part of a Town-approved activity or event.
  • G. Within the Town’s parking lots and designated parking spaces. H. From the operators of motor vehicles on a public street provided that this restriction shall not apply to services offered, requested, or rendered in connection with motor vehicle accidents and other traffic-related exigent circumstances.
  • I. While the person being solicited is standing in line waiting to be admitted to a commercial establishment.
  • J. Within 50 feet of any bank, financial institution, or automated teller machine.
  • K. Within 50 feet of Town Hall, the Fire Station, the Joe Eakes and Ocean Front Parks, the Community Center, and the Beach Access Points.
  • L. While upon the beach anywhere within the Town’s jurisdictional limits.
  • M. While on private property if the owner, tenant, or lawful occupant has informed the solicitor not to solicit on said property or has posted a notification clearly indicating not to solicit on the property.”

“Aggressive manner” is defined with even more specificity. It includes, this time paraphrasing:

  • “Intentionally and/or recklessly making physical contact with a person without that person’s consent,”
  • Continuing to solicit after a person responded negatively,
  • Anything that could cause a “reasonable person to fear bodily harm”,
  • “Intentionally and/or recklessly” blocking someone’s path,
  • “Intentionally and/or recklessly using obscene and/or abusive language.”

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