IBJNews

Councilor gives panhandling proposal more time

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The sponsor of a panhandling ordinance plans to pull it from City-County Council consideration for a second time.

The proposal, which would restrict begging and street performances in most downtown areas, is scheduled to be heard by the council's Rules and Public Policy Committee on Tuesday evening. The committee advanced the proposal to the full council with a 5-2 vote in November, but then, in December, the council sent it back to address complaints from the arts community.

Sponsor Jeff Miller said he asked committee Chairwoman Maggie Lewis to drop the proposal from Tuesday's agenda so he can introduce a new one to the council in February. He said the restrictions will be the same, but he wants to pass an ordinance that's cleanly worded and easy to understand. The proposal reflects a series of amendments to the existing code.

Miller admitted that the delay will also give him time to reach out to Broad Ripple constituents and hear from anyone else who hasn't come forward already. He said he's not looking to make substantial changes. “We want to hear people's concerns, though,” he said.

The proposal bans all forms of solicitation – whether shaking a cup or playing an instrument – within 50 feet of ATMs, crosswalks, banks, parking meters, underpasses and outdoor restaurants. It also outlaws solicitation under any circumstances from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The ban applies to the entire city, but the greatest impact will likely be felt in areas like downtown, where the restricted zones are most dense.

One change Miller would still consider is carving out a cultural zone, possibly in Broad Ripple, where solicitation would be permitted. He had floated the same idea for Mass Ave and Fountain Square but found it wasn't necessary because there will still be opportunities for street performance in those districts, either under special-event permits or in areas that are untouched by the restrictions.

“I had people say, 'I'm actually OK with it as it is now,'” Miller said.

The rules committee still plans to hear public comment Tuesday night, Miller said.

In the meantime, Indianapolis Downtown Inc. has created a map showing all the stretches of sidewalk that would not be affected by the new restrictions. The map shows chunks of unrestricted sidewalk on Monument Circle and Georgia Street, as well as on Maryland Street on the north side of the Indiana Convention Center. Most other busy downtown blocks would be off-limits, though.

Mayor Greg Ballard hoped to ban panhandling in the Mile Square in response to complaints from event and convention planners, but ran into opposition from the American Civil Liberties Union and Democrats. A bipartisan group of councilors including Miller, a Republican, and Lewis, president of the majority-Democratic council, drew up the current proposal after visiting Raleigh, N.C., and San Antonio last year.

Miller said he believes there is enough bipartisan support on the council to pass a new panhandling law, but it won't be by a wide margin.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Can't top either one of those comments
    To "GM" and "Handlin' Joe"...you have both made excellent points, and done so with humor and truth...well done...
  • Slippery slope
    A few street beggars pose much less of a threat than politicians who continue to think it's okay to propose legislation banning behavior. First it was smokers, now it's panhandlers. What will the Republicrats ban next? Soda and salt consumption? Gun ownership? Certain political speech? Democrat and Republican politicians are the true harassers, not a few beggars.
  • Glad to see the extension
    I've been "spanging" (that's latest slang for 'handlin) downtown for a few seasons now and it's worked out really nicely. In this recession, my Audi isn't going to pay for itself, amirite? Anyways in all seriousness, I was nervous when I first heard Ballard might place limits on my hobby and supplemental livelihood. This extension is welcome news while I continue to look for a suitable intersection in Carmel. I might not get as much foot traffic in Hamilton County, but at least I'll be closer to my house. -sent from my iPad

    Post a comment to this story

    COMMENTS POLICY
    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
     
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
     
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
     
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
     
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
     

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    ADVERTISEMENT

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
     
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

    2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

    3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

    4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

    5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

    ADVERTISEMENT