The Stratford Town Council tonight will discuss and vote on an amendment concerning panhandling, according to the agenda (attached as a PDF).
The amendment in part seeks to define "aggressive panhandling" as:
- Approaching, speaking to or following a person in a manner as would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm or the commission of a criminal act upon the person, or upon property in the person's immediate possession; or
- Touching another person without that person's consent in the course of asking for alms; or
- Continuing to ask, beg, or solicit alms from a person after the person has made a negative response; or
- Following the person solicited before, after or while asking, begging or soliciting alms; or
- Intentionally blocking or interfering with the safe or free passage of a person or vehicle by any means, including unreasonably causing a person or driver of a vehicle to take evasive action to avoid physical contact; or
- Directing abusive or profane language toward the person solicited, either while asking, begging or soliciting alms, or following a refusal by the person solicited.
Those found practicing any of the above acts shall be fined $150 per offense, according to the amendement.
News that the Town Council would be spending time tonight discussing panhandling surprised some residents to comment on the Stratford Patch Facebook page.
"Is this even an issue?" asked Carissa DeBernardo.
"Where is this happening in town? I've lived here for 12 years and have never experienced this," added Lisa Clark Horch.
Others to comment said most of the panhandling in Stratford occurs around I-95 on- and off-ramps.
"I mostly see it happening at the on and exit ramps, people standing with signs asking for money or food," wrote Kim Henderson-Gravel.
"Exit 32 [South] everyday I see a few but thyere not aggresive," commented Mike Macisco.
Stratford Patch will be at tonight's meeting. Check back tomorrow for the full story.