City Leaders to Vote on Second Reading of Panhandling Ban

Colorado Springs City Council will vote today on an ordinance to ban panhandling downtown.

This will be the second vote on the no-solicitation ordinance, which means if it passes it will take effect next month.

If passed, the punishment for solicitation would range from a verbal warning for a first offense to fines and possible jail time.
The first vote came on Nov. 13 after hours of discussion and public comment.

Those in support of the ordinance say it will help make Colorado Springs more inviting. Those who oppose it say it could force the issue into neighborhoods, including Old Colorado City.

Provisions in the ordinance include a ban on solicitation in downtown Colorado Springs. As far as solicitation city wide the ordinance creates a mandatory distance of 20 feet from the front door of a business. A second ordinance extends the ban to state highways within the city, to include Highway 24 on the city's west side.

Anyone caught in violation of the ordinance will first get a verbal warning and explanation of the rules. A second encounter will usually mean a written warning. Further infractions could lead to fines and possibly time in jail.

Council members also agreed to re-visit the ordinance in five months to determine if it needs further review or modification.