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City of Norwalk, CT
Fairfield County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City of Norwalk Common Council 12-14-2004. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Loitering for solicitation — See Ch. 64.
Peddlers, Street Vendors and Solicitors — See Ch. 77.
Public gatherings and special events — See Ch. 88.
A. 
The Common Council finds that the increase in aggressive solicitation or panhandling throughout the City has become extremely 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. The Common Council finds that the same concerns have been found with respect to loitering, which obstructs, impedes or interferes with the use of streets and public places.
B. 
Aggressive solicitation usually includes approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The Common Council further finds that the presence of individuals who solicit money from persons at or near banks, automated teller machines, or in public transportation vehicles is especially troublesome because of the enhanced fear of crime in those confined environments. Motorists also find themselves confronted by persons seeking money who, without permission, wash their automobile windows at traffic intersections, despite explicit indications by drivers not to do so. Such activity carries with it an implicit threat to both persons and property. People driving or parking on City streets frequently find themselves faced with persons seeking money by offering to open car doors or locate parking spaces.
C. 
The Common Council is enacting this chapter pursuant to its police power. The chapter is not intended to limit any persons from exercising their constitutional right to solicit funds, picket, protest or engage in other constitutionally protected activity. Rather, its goal is to protect citizens from the fear and intimidation accompanying certain kinds of aggressive solicitation that have become an unwelcome presence in the City.
For purposes of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
AGGRESSIVE MANNER
Means and includes:
A. 
Intentionally or recklessly making any physical contact with or touching another person in the course of the solicitation without the person's consent;
B. 
Following the person being solicited, if that conduct is:
(1) 
Intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person's possession; or
(2) 
Is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation;
C. 
Continuing to solicit within five feet of the person being solicited after the person has made a negative response, if continuing the solicitation is:
(1) 
Intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person's possession; or
(2) 
Is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation;
D. 
Intentionally or recklessly blocking the safe or free passage of the person being solicited or requiring the person, or the driver of the vehicle, to take evasive action to avoid physical contact with the person making the solicitation. Acts authorized as an exercise of one's constitutional right to picket or legally protest shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
E. 
Intentionally or recklessly using:
(1) 
Obscene or abusive language or gestures: (i) intended to or likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person's possession; or
(2) 
Words intended to or reasonably likely to intimidate the person into responding affirmatively to the solicitation; or
F. 
Approaching the person being solicited in a manner that:
(1) 
Is intended to or is likely to cause a reasonable person to fear imminent harm or the commission of a criminal act upon property in the person's possession; or
(2) 
Is intended to or is reasonably likely to intimidate the person being solicited into responding affirmatively to the solicitation.
AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM)
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 automatic teller machines and any adjacent space which is made available to banking customers after regular banking hours.
CHECK-CASHING BUSINESS
Any person duly licensed by the State Banking Department to engage in the business of cashing checks, drafts or money orders for consideration pursuant to the provisions of the banking laws.
LOITERING
Standing around, moving slowly about, or lingering or lagging behind.
PUBLIC AREA
An area to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access, and includes, but is not limited to, alleys, bridges, buildings, driveways, public parking garages, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, schools, plazas, sidewalks, and streets open to the general public, and the doorways and entrances to buildings and dwellings, and the grounds enclosing them.
SOLICIT
To request an immediate donation of money or other thing of value from another person, regardless of the solicitor's purpose or intended use of the money or other thing of value. The solicitation may be, without limitation, by the spoken, written, or printed word, or by other means of communication.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit money or other things of value, or to solicit the sale of goods or services:
A. 
In an aggressive manner in a public area;
B. 
In any public transportation vehicle or bus or within 25 feet of any bus or train station or stop;
C. 
In any public garage;
D. 
Within 25 feet of any entrance or exit of any bank or check-cashing businesses or within 25 feet of any automated teller machine; 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;
E. 
On private property if the owner, tenant, or lawful occupant has asked the person not to solicit on the property, or has posted a sign clearly indicating that solicitations are not welcome on the property; or
F. 
From any operator of a motor vehicle or a bicycle that is in traffic on a public street, whether in exchange for cleaning the bicycle or the vehicle windows or for blocking, occupying or reserving a public parking space, or directing the occupant to a public parking space; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply to services rendered in connection with emergency repairs requested by the operator or passengers of such vehicle or bicycle.
It shall be unlawful for any person or group of persons:
A. 
To loiter on the streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, walks in public parks or any other public area so as to obstruct, impede or interfere with the use of the street, sidewalk, crosswalk, walk in a public park or other area by any other person;
B. 
To loiter on the grounds or within any building of a school within the City so as in any way to obstruct, impede or interfere with or interrupt the operation of any school or class within such school; or
C. 
To loiter on private property within the City if ordered to quit the private property by the owner, his agent, a tenant or lawful occupant thereof, or if said private property is posted with a sign or signs stating that loitering thereon is prohibited.
Severability is intended throughout and within the provisions of this chapter. If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter is held invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, then such judgment shall in no way affect or impair the validity of; the remaining portions of this chapter.
This chapter is not intended to prescribe any demand for payment for services rendered or goods delivered. Nor is it intended to prohibit constitutionally protected speech or conduct.
A. 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be fined not more than $99 for each offense.
B. 
Any police officer may order any person violating the loitering provisions of this chapter to cease and desist from obstructing, impeding or interfering with the right of any other person to use the streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, walks in public parks or any other public area. Any person in charge of any school grounds or buildings, or his designee, may order any person violating § 72A-4B to immediately quit such premises. The refusal by any person to obey a police officer's request to cease and desist from obstructing, impeding or interfering with the right of any other person to use the streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, walks in public parks or any other public area shall constitute a separate offense subject to the aforementioned penalty. A refusal of a person to obey the request to quit school grounds or buildings by the person in charge or his designee shall also be considered a separate offense subjecting that person to the aforementioned penalty.