A no-solicitation ordinance passed its first reading on Tuesday. If the ordinance is passed at the Nov. 27 reading, it will become law five days later.
The city said the definition of solicitation under this ordinance is a request from a person for, “something of value; cash, clothes or requesting to make a sale or a purchase at that time.”
Chris Melcher, Colorado Springs city attorney, said solicitation does not include the exchange of information.
“Vehicles that drive by with advertising on the sides of the vehicle are permitted. Political leafleting is permitted. Petitioning is permitted. None of those things are considered solicitations,” said Melcher.
Melcher explained the practice of businesses handing out coupons or advertisements for upcoming events is considered informational activity and is therefore allowed under the ordinance.
“We’re really trying to address a specific problem which is persistent solicitation or panhandling in an area in a way that offends, or harasses, or harms people, or makes them feel unsafe and therefore hurts the economic activity,” said Melcher.
If passed, the ordinance would impact the areas of downtown Colorado Springs encompassed by Boulder Street to the north, Cucharras Street to the south, Nevada Avenue to the east and Cascade Avenue to the west.
“We’re really working hard with the downtown community to help revitalize our downtown. We think this is a tool that will help our merchants help our community improve our downtown which will benefit all our community,” said Melcher.
Melcher said if the community has questions, people should call the City Attorney’s Office, 719-385-5925, or the non-emergency police line, 719-444-7000.