Sarasota News Leader

03/07/2014

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As another aspect of addressing homelessness issues, the Sarasota County commissioners on Wednesday, March 5, held a public hearing on a law that would ban roadside panhandling in unincorporated areas of the county. The new ordinance would replace a tempo- rary, emergency measure now in place. "The goal of the ordinance is public safety," said John Mast, the coun- ty's manager of Land Development Services. Two signi´Čücant issues, h o w e v e r, c a m e u p during the discussion, and action ultimately was delayed. First, the commissioners grappled with how to ban panhandling while attempting to address the concern public speakers raised about the law's limiting the ability of charities, such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), to seek contributions during roadside fund- raising events. In addition, the commissioners wanted to adopt a unified ordi- n a n c e t h a t w o u l d b e m o r e e a s i l y enforced countywide. O n t h a t p o i n t , V i c e C h a i r w o m a n Christine Robinson won approval for a A man standing alongside Bee Ridge Road in April 2013 sought help from motorists. Photo by Norman Schimmel THE COUNTY AND CITY COMMISSIONS' CONTINUING DISAGREEMENT ON HOW TO REGULATE ROADSIDE SOLICITATION LEADS TO DELAYED COUNTY ACTION PANHANDLING VOTE POSTPONED I don't think there are hard feelings. They just disagree. Nora Patterson Commissioner Sarasota County By Roger Drouin County Editor

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