ST. PETERS, Mo. – Some St. Peters residents have raised concerns about what they call an increase in aggressive panhandling. On Thursday, the city’s board of aldermen passed an ordinance taking aim at those concerns.
City attorney John Young said the new ordinance was crafted following feedback from residents. He said, “They were concerned about the safety of pedestrians and motorists.”
The new ordinance prohibits a panhandler or solicitor from approaching a vehicle, while in a right-of-way.
“It’s just intended to make sure that the police department has an enforceable mechanism for making sure people are safe in the intersection and in the city’s right of way,” said Young.
FOX 2 recently reported on a similar ordinance in Chesterfield. The action led to that city denying a request by the Incarnate Word Knights of Columbus to continue its annual Tootsie Roll drive on several street corners.
St. Peters resident Doc Hendrix has mixed emotions about the ordinance. He once stood on corners helping youth sports teams raise funds.
“It really is kind of a tricky issue,” said Hendrix.
St. Peters resident Jennifer Terwilliger supports the board’s action. She believes panhandling has led to safety issues in St. Peters.
“When they stop traffic, it becomes a problem,” Terwilliger said.
The ordinance passed by a unanimous 7-0 vote and will go into effect immediately following the mayor’s signature.