Fort Smith Directors Discussing Ordinance Tightening Rules On Panhandling

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A proposed ordinance tightening rules regarding panhandling in Fort Smith, will go before the Board of Directors Tuesday (Feb. 21.).

"We've received complaints about panhandlers on the street corners interfering with traffic, with the flow of citizens actually knocking on people doors while they are stopped," Vice Mayor Kevin Settle said.

The ordinance would ban panhandlers within 150 feet of an intersection, bank or bus stop.

It would also ban panhandlers from asking for money within three feet of an individual.

Providing a false or misleading representation of why a panhandler needs money is also discussed in the ordinance.

If enacted, it would be a misdemeanor crime for violating the rules of the ordinance, if convicted.

The ordinance is expected to pass with some considerations.

"There's some issues with some charities that we have to go through and understand how we can make exceptions for some charities like the firefighters with the boot drive they do in the street," Settle said.

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