[Added 10-5-2009 by Ord. No. 57.91.09]
The Common Council of the City of Albany recognizes a constitutional right to beg or solicit in a peaceful and nonthreatening manner. The Council finds, however, that an increase in aggressive solicitation within the City has become disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses and has contributed not only to the loss of access to and enjoyment of public places, but also to an enhanced sense of fear, intimidation and disorder.
Aggressive panhandling usually includes approaching or following pedestrians, the use of abusive language, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The Council further finds that the presence of individuals who solicit money from persons at or near banks or automated teller machines is especially troublesome.
This article is timely and appropriate because current laws are insufficient to address the aforementioned problems. The restrictions contained herein are neither overbroad nor vague and are narrowly tailored to serve a substantial government interest. Furthermore, in enacting this legislation, the Council recognizes the availability of community service and other sentencing alternatives, which may be appropriate remedies for violations of this law.
The law is not intended to limit any persons from exercising their constitutional right to solicit funds, picket, protest or engage in other constitutionally protected activity. Its goal is instead to protect citizens from the fear and intimidation accompanying certain kinds of solicitation that have become an unwelcome and overwhelming presence in the City.
For the purposes of this article, the following terms shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:
- A. Approaching or speaking to a person, or following a person, before, during or after soliciting, asking or begging, if that conduct is intended or is likely to cause a reasonable person to:
- (1) Fear bodily harm to oneself or to another, damage to or loss of property or the commission of any offense as defined in § 10.00 of the Penal Law upon oneself or another; or
- (2) Otherwise be intimitaded into giving money or other thing of value; or
- (3) Suffer unreasonable inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.
- B. Intentionally touching or causing physical contact with another person or an occupied vehicle without that person's consent in the course of soliciting, asking or begging;
- C. Intentionally blocking or interfering with the safe or free passage of a pedestrian or vehicle by any means, including unreasonably causing a pedestrian or vehicle to take evasive action to avoid physical contact; or
- D. Using violent or threatening gestures toward a person solicited.
- AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE
- A device, linked to a financial institution's account records, which is able to carry out transactions, including, but not limited to, account transfers, deposits, cash withdrawals, balance inquiries and mortgage and loan payments.
- AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE FACILITY
- The area comprised of one or more automated teller machines, and any adjacent space which is made available to banking customers after regular business hours.
- Any banking organization as defined in § 2 of the New York State Banking Law which has as its purpose or among its purposes the receipt of deposits.
- CHECK CASHING BUSINESS
- Any person duly licensed by the New York State Superintendent of Banks to engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration pursuant to provisions of Article IX-A of the New York State Banking Law.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- A place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access, including, but not limited to, any sidewalk, street, highway, right-of-way, parking lot, plaza, transportation facility, school, place of amusement, park or playground, as well as any hallway, lobby or other portion of an apartment house or hotel not constituting a room or apartment designed for actual residence.
- SOLICIT, ASK OR BEG
- Includes using the spoken, written, or printed word, or bodily gestures, signs or other means with the purpose of obtaining an immediate donation of money or other thing of value or soliciting the sale of goods or services.
No person shall solicit, ask or beg in an aggressive manner in any public place.
No person shall solicit, ask or beg within 10 feet of any entrance or exit of any bank or check cashing business during its business hours or within 10 feet of any automated teller machine during the time it is available for customers' use; provided, however, that when an automated teller machine is located within an automated teller machine facility, such distance shall be measured from the entrance or exit of the automated teller machine facility; provided further that no person shall solicit, ask or beg within an automated teller machine facility where a reasonable person would or should know that he or she does not have permission to do so from the owner or other person lawfully in possession of such facility. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the lawful vending of goods and services within such areas.
No person shall approach an operator or other occupant of a motor vehicle while such vehicle is located on any street to solicit, ask or beg, or for the purpose of either performing or offering to perform a service in connection with such vehicle or otherwise soliciting the sale of goods or services, if such approaching, performing, offering or soliciting is done in an aggressive manner as defined in this article; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply to services rendered in connection with the lawful towing of such vehicle or in connection with emergency repairs requested by the operator or other occupant of such vehicle.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to any unenclosed automated teller machine located within any building, structure or space whose primary purpose or function is unrelated to banking activities, including but not limited to supermarkets and school buildings, provided that such automated teller machine shall be available for use only during the regular hours of operation of the building, structure or space in which such machine is located.
Any violation of the provisions of this article shall be punishable by a fine which shall not exceed $100 in amount or imprisonment for not more than 15 days, or both, or appropriate community service alternatives.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of this article and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be rendered invalid thereby.