Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
Asheville panhandling ordinance revised, requires a final vote during a 2nd reading on Sept. 12
Saturday, 16 September 2023 14:01

From Staff Reports

There was no major overhaul of the panhandling rules in Asheville, but public comment at Asheville City Council’s meeting on Aug. 22 consumed much of the meeting time.

Council “voted to amend the city’s ordinance on solicitation, usually called panhandling,” News 13 reported later Aug. 22.

Meanwhile, the Asheville Citizen Times reported on Aug. 23 that “the vote was the first reading of the proposed change, drawing 26 speakers over nearly two hours of public comment. It passed 6-1, with only Councilwoman Kim Roney opposing.

“A second reading will take place Sept. 12,” the ACT noted. An ordinance  change of this kind requires two votes to pass.

News 13 stated “The proposed amendments were all technical to bring the city’s rules in line with court decisions on panhandling regulations. That meant defining the who, what, when and where of solicitation rules, including an 8-foot distance restriction.

“The amendment also clarified that solicitation is allowed on sidewalks at any time, but a permit is needed to solicit on a street, shoulder or median,” the TV station noted.

“The city’s panhandling ordinances have remained largely unchanged for more than two decades. More intensive amendments are potentially on the horizon... Mayor Esther Manheimer said another discussion of the ordinance is expected in October,” News 13 reported.

Meanwhile, the ACT reported, “Though panhandling and a host of potential restrictions were top of mind for many at the Aug. 22 City Council meeting, the night’s vote did not deal with the ‘substantive’ changes proposed in July by a council committee, which garnered a massive response throughout community.

“Instead, the vote surrounded a number of ‘technical amendments.’ The more dramatic amendments — like those that could create stricter laws for panhandling in areas of the city and restrict giving from vehicles — will likely return to council committee for consideration Sept. 26, then onto City Council Oct. 10.

“City Attorney Brad Branham said the technical amendments were needed to remain compliant with existing federal laws, and were not intended to expand any existing regulations or penalties.

“But for some, they still posed a threat of undue restriction, with many concerned about the ‘criminalization of poverty’ in a city already struggling with high rents, low housing stock and in the midst of a self-described homelessness crisis.

“Branham said the language updates would remove ambiguity from Asheville City Code (of which sections 11-5 and 11-14 pertain to panhandling or “solicitation”), by bringing the code into compliance with the latest court decisions and increasing specificity in the language.

“While the majority of the speakers were in opposition to the ordinance changes — either the night’s technical amendments, the possible substantive amendments or both — several speakers were in support, like members of Asheville Coalition for Public Safety, who showed out for the meeting in full force,” the ACT reported.

The revised ordinance can be found online at



contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site