Lake Worth to revisit panhandling law after PBSO comments

LAKE WORTH — Last month, the city inched closer to making it illegal for anyone to panhandle at several busy intersections by unanimously approving a new ordinance on first reading.

The intersections are:

  • Interstate 95 northbound and southbound on and off ramps at Sixth Avenue South.
  • Interstate 95 northbound and southbound on and off ramps at 10th Avenue North.
  • Lake Worth Road and the CSX Railway, located west of Interstate 95 overpass at Lake Worth Road.
  • Intersection of 10th Avenue North and North Dixie Highway.
  • Intersection of 6th Avenue North and South Dixie Highway.

That ordinance is being brought back before the commission at Tuesday’s meeting on first reading again after a few tweaks were suggested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office attorney, according to City Attorney Glen Torcivia.

The original ordinance included any area within 200 feet from the curb or boundary line of the intersection. That was changed to 100 feet, Torcivia said.

The city also removed the part of the ordinance that included all Interstate 95 underpass areas within 400 feet of the curb or boundary line of the intersection, Torcivia said.

The city said it’s experiencing more solicitors at intersections in the western part of the city, with canvassers and solicitors selling goods, services or trying to obtain donations from drivers and passengers.

Those interactions, the city said, are a safety concern.

The ordinance defines a “right-of-way canvasser or solicitor” as any person who sells or offers for sale anything or service of any kind, or who seeks a donation of any kind or who personally hands to or seeks to transmit by hand anything or some sort of service.

The definition doesn’t apply to any person who is holding or displaying a lawfully permitted sign, the city said.

A second reading is scheduled for June 20, the city said.