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Panhandlers? New Alachua County ordinance stops people from standing on medians

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If you’ve noticed less people asking for money on the streets, that’s because there was a new county ordinance for stricter rules to keep people off the roads.

“Whether it’s fundraising for a marching band, filling the boot for MDA or panhandling,” says Mark Sexton, Alachua County spokesman.

The new ordnance says people asking for money or holding up signs cannot stand on the median, on the road itself, or verbally interact with the people in the cars.

They are allowed to stand on the sidewalk, but if they are caught interacting with a driver or passenger, both parties can be cited.

“It’s actually a misdemeanor offence, theoretically it’s an arrestable offence,” says Jeffrey Finch, Alachua County Sheriff Office deputy.

The new ordinance came after residents made multiple requests to keep people off the roads.

“We have received a number of complaints who don’t feel comfortable being approached by their cars,” says Sexton.

“It was holding up a lot of traffic it was very unsafe for people to be doing what they were doing because the traffic gets really heavy and people can get hit,” says Finch.

The new rules are only applied in unincorporated parts of Alachua County, and hope this new change will help make everyone feel safer.

“With the new ordinance in place we have seen a huge difference, a huge downturn of the people who were out there, so it’s been helpful,” says Finch.

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