Panhandlers Must Register With City, Cannot Stand at Corners

Fairlawn City Council passed two pieces of legislation at Monday's meeting that will regulate panhandler activities.

Ten days.

That's how long panhandlers have to register with the city of Fairlawn, and until new regulation legislation goes into effect. It was passed by City Council at Monday's meeting.

Mayor William Roth said copies of the legislation will be posted in four locations throughout the city, as well as the Internet. Police officers will also pass out copies to any panhandlers they find on the streets.

: one piece requires panhandlers to register with the city and the other regulates where they can panhandle.

"We considered this legislation very carefully," Roth said. "We took the time to do this right. It's for the safety of our residents, the people who come to the city and the panhandlers themselves."

Roth added that having panhandlers in the street accepting donations is dangerous to everyone on the the road.

"We're regulating them, not eliminating them," Roth said. "The whole purpose of this legislation is to get compliance and for safety."

Council President Russ Sharnsky agreed.

"We needed to enact something," Sharnsky said. "I've always been of the belief that if you want to give, give to a charity, not the people on the streets. You don't know who you're giving your money to."

Council member Kathleen Baum believes requiring panhandlers to register will deter them from coming to the city at all.

"I told my ward members that I'm sure they'll feel more comfortable sitting at lights now that (panhandlers) will be back from the street," Baum said. "I think this is good for the city and will deter people from panhandling. It gives the city a better appearance."


Now panhandlers must head to the police department before hitting the streets. They will be required to fill out an application where they will provide name, address, date of birth, whether they have a car, social security number, an emergency contact and state whether they've been convicted of any crimes.

The police department will then perform a background check, and if they find the applicant is a convicted felon, that person will not be allowed to panhandle in the city.

If the application is approved, the panhandler will be issued a license which must be worn on their outermost piece of clothing. If the panhandler is caught without the license, they will first be warned, then cited. If they are caught again, their license will be revoked.

If a panhandler's application is rejected, they have the option of appealing the rejection in Mayor's Court. The decision of the mayor will be final.


Ten days from now (April 16), panhandlers will not be allowed to beg within 25 feet of:

  • any intersecting streets or crosswalks
  • any driveway entrance or exit from shopping plazas, shopping districts, an commercial or business establishments, churches, schools or libraries
  • any bus stop
  • any ATM or bank
  • any sidewalk cafe or outdoor restaurant
  • any entry or exit to an car service station

Aggressive panhandling is also prohibited. The city's legislation defines that as:

  • touching the person being panhandled without their consent
  • blocking the path of a person being panhandled, or blocking the continuous flow of traffic on the public right-of-way
  • following behind, ahead or alongside a person who walks away from being panhandled
  • making a statement or gesture which would cause a person to believe that the panhandler will cause physical harm to the person or the property of the person being panhandled
  • panhandling in a group of two or more people

Anyone who violates these terms will be found guilty of a minor misdemeanor and will be subject to a penalty.


Charles Porthington April 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Fairlawn obviously thinks that panhandlers deter from the beauty of the city and don't want them around. So they come up with these impossible rules and regulations so nobody will want to come to Fairlawn to panhandle. Convicted felons can vote in Ohio but can't panhandle in Fairlawn. Does that make any sense at all?
Janet Silverman April 17, 2012 at 01:43 PM
There is help for these panhandlers, and this is just a business that was started. I'm sure they're being pimped out by the big boss. They actually stand in front of businesses sporting "Now Hiring" or "Help Wanted" signs. They sit there in their very decent clothes and talk on their cell phones which makes it a bit hard to believe that they are homeless. Also, there was an article in either the Beacon or West Side Leader last year in which one of the business owners in the area offered every one of these panhandlers in the Montrose area a job, and they all refused. Apparently, they are making more money with this "employer"...and it is a very smart employer who has hired them to panhandle. They are all dropped off by van together and picked up together, I would rather give my money to the community organizations which are there to help the homeless and underemployed so that the money may be used to help everyone.
Megan Rozsa April 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Here's what Facebook fan Don Olson Ostapowicz had to say about this issue: "Now they'll just go across the street and panhandle in Copley and Bath." Do you agree?


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