Watauga Commissioners To Meet on Tuesday, Public Hearing on Panhandling Ordinance

Published Monday, April 18, 2016 at 12:04 pm

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Board of Commissioners will meet on Tuesday, April 19, at 5:30 p.m. in the Watauga County Administrative Building on King Street. Among the agenda items is a public hearing and vote on the panhandling ordinance.

Last month, the commissioners reviewed a draft ordinance regulating panhandling and solicitation in Watauga County, and on tomorrow the commissioners will hold a public hearing to listen to comments from the public before voting on the ordinance.

At last month’s meeting, Sheriff Len Hagaman said he supported the ordinance and a majority of commissioners seemed in support of the measure. Among the concerns acknowledged by Hagaman and cited by Commissioner Billy Kennedy was the “fine line” between public safety and freedom of speech or the potential “slippery slope” from limiting access to public space to certain people.

The commissioners will also hold another public hearing on Tuesday. The hearing concerns proposed amendments to the county’s sign ordinance. Planning Director Joe Furman said that the proposed changes are in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case, Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Ariz., which differentiates between temporary and permanent and commercial and residential.

Read both draft ordinances here.

Watauga County Board of Commissioners will hold budget work sessions on Wednesday, May 11 from 12 to 6 p.m. and Thursday, May 12 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Watauga County Administration Building on King Street.

Check out the agenda below or click to the meeting packet here.

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