Ogden considers stricter rules regarding panhandling

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jul 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-10 00:18:39-04

OGDEN, Utah -- Ogden City could be tightening restrictions for panhandlers, and city officials said it's necessary for the safety of not only pedestrians but drivers as well.

"It's a real public city issue," said Mara Brown, who is the chief deputy city attorney for Ogden. "We've had city council members express at the last meeting that they've observed issues when people go into the roadway. It's both a concern for chain reaction vehicle accidents and pedestrian safety."

The proposal makes picketing, soliciting, holding signs and receiving money prohibited on streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or more, dedicated turning lanes and roads with two or more lanes of traffic in the same direction.

And if you're caught giving money to a panhandler on a roadway you could get a ticket. But Jennifer Canter at St. Anne's Center said there's a better way to give to others and change needs to happen.

"I actually think it's a good idea, and I support it," she said. "I think panhandling has become a real problem especially in Ogden and it's becoming unsafe for the panhandlers themselves and unsafe for the people who are coming into contact with the panhandler."

But Lance Lund, who has been panhandling in Ogden for six months, said the proposals would make it difficult to support himself.

"I understand where they're coming from, but how could this cause an accident especially when they're giving of it of their own free will, that's in their Constitution," Lund said.

The Ogden City Council could vote on the amendments as early as July 29.