Society

Clearwater, Florida May Ban Sitting on Sidewalks

| by Michael Allen

The Clearwater, Florida City Council will soon consider some drastic new laws aimed at homeless people, but which could also affect the general population.

The Tampa Bay Times reports the city council may ban sitting or lying down on sidewalks, or other public rights of way, which could mean a $500 fine, 60 days in jail or both.

Execptions would be made so that people could still sit in parks, on the sand of Clearwater beaches, at sidewalk cafes and while watching parades.

They could sit on the rights of way if in wheelchairs, baby carriages or on public benches.

The city council may also ban sleeping outside, panhandling and bathing in public sinks.

The city council has already welded shut the doors to public bathrooms, turned off access to water in public areas and discouraged donations to a soup kitchen.

City Manager Bill Horne said: "We do have challenges on the street, and the public wants us to respond to those in a humane way. Our residents support us having a little more influence and teeth in our rules."

Another ordinance that the city council will consider, on Monday, would ban feeding wild animals like ducks or squirrels, tying a dog to a tree, playing horseshoes outside a designated area or sitting on "any structure not intended for such use."