City Council Withdraws No-Solicitation Zone Ordinance

The Colorado Springs City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to change its ordinance that banned solicitation downtown.

The city will retain the new prohibition on active solicitation within 20 feet of a residential or business entryways.

Federal Judge Marsha Krieger affirmed the 20-feet solicitation buffer in February.

"Both the passage of the new 20-foot rule and the installation of the cameras downtown have led to a significant improvement in the safety, comfort, and attractiveness of our downtown.

"In just their first few months, the cameras have successfully led to several arrests, and the city's focus on stopping persistent and unwanted solicitation in the downtown has greatly reduced that activity. These two initiatives have accomplished most of the purpose of the no solicitation zone, and we, along with the downtown merchants, downtown residents, and our entire community, are pleased with the progress," said Chris Melcher, an attorney for the city.

"At this time it does not make sense for the city to spend additional resources on the ACLU challenge, particularly given that the federal court was not sympathetic to our arguments and additional courts have not yet supported these zones.

"By withdrawing the no-solicitation zone now, before a trial or a ruling on the merits, the city will conserve resources and retain the option in the future to revisit a zone if it's needed for the benefit of our community and our downtown," Melcher said.

Statement of ACLU of Colorado legal director Mark Silverstein on the Colorado Springs City Council’s repeal of the downtown no-solicitation zone:

“The ACLU of Colorado is pleased that Colorado Springs has decided to repeal this overbroad, ill-advised and unconstitutional ordinance.

Forbidding any and all solicitation in a huge 12-city block downtown area was a significant overreach. In fact, the City was unable to cite a single case in which a court had upheld such a broad restriction of speech.

“We are delighted that the free expression rights of musicians, theater performers, nonprofit fundraisers and others will be restored and respected.”