Christiansburg replaces aggressive solicitation ordinance with interfering with traffic ban

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) Panhandling and businesses being done in roadways is now almost impossible to do in Christiansburg.

The Town had an ordinance against aggressive solicitation until Tuesday night.

Town Council voted to remove that ordinance after the county's attorney said certain wording in it discussing holding up signs, was deemed unconstitutional in a Supreme Court ruling.

Right after that vote, the Council voted to put in a new ordinance barring interfering with traffic.

The ordinance says people can be standing on sidewalks, holding up signs, asking for money, or trying to sell things.

But those people cannot step into a roadway within town limits to collect donations or exchange goods.

The Chief of Police said anyone caught doing this will be ticketed, although it hadn't been determined how large the fine would be.

It would be similar to a non-moving traffic violation.

But both parties, the person on the street and the person in the car, would be ticketed.

The Police Chief explained if a person is continuing an illegal act after being ticketed, Virginia code allows police to arrest them.

However, he doesn't want his staff to have to do this. But the possibility is there.

These moves make it constitutionally legal for Christiansburg to try to prevent panhandlers or people selling things at street corners.

It would also outlaw a fire department's Fill the Boot campaign, but Christiansburg Fire doesn't do that.