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Signs Discouraging Panhandling Considered In Fairfax County

Posted on Sep 20,2019
Filed Under News , Community,
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Signs discouraging panhandling could come to Fairfax County if approved by the Board of Supervisors. (Shutterstock)
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By Emily Leayman

FAIRFAX, VA. — Signs to discourage panhandlers collecting money at Fairfax County intersections received support at the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday, Sept. 17. The committee directed staff to continue working on signs and traffic analysis to determine locations. There was no formal vote, but the Board of Supervisors must vote to approve the signs before they can go up.

The committee looked at a sample sign that includes the county's human services hotline: 703-222-0880. The sample sign's message was similar to signs used in Roanoke City, James City County and Henrico County.

Most supervisors preferred trying out the signs before an ordinance is considered. The change of direction came after the Board of Supervisors directed staff in July to draft an ordinance restricting panhandling at intersections and medians. Attorneys advised the county to tread carefully, since panhandling is protected by the First Amendment, and ordinances in Charlottesville and Henrico were struck down. Attorneys suggested a traffic study to determine areas with safety concerns before developing an ordinance.

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