With a prime Church Street location in Burlington, the clothing store Whim is a common stop for shoppers. Owner Melissa Desautels says the location is great because of all the foot traffic, but says there can be a dark side to Church Street.
"There is the other aspect of people hanging out, swearing, smoking cigarettes, just being loud and aggressive behavior toward one another," Desautels said.
But the city is aiming to change certain behavior on the street, and they're doing it with a trespassing ordinance. Illegal behavior like disorderly conduct, possession of illegal drugs, unlawful mischief or open alcohol containers will now result in trespassing citations.
"First offense would be the balance of the day, second would be for 90 days and the third would be up to a year," Burlington Deputy Police Chief Andi Higbee said.
Burlington police say a similar trespassing ordinance was passed for City Hall Park. They say that ordinance has significantly cut down on illegal activity.
"I'm never bothered by this activity. I see a vibrant community," said Jared Carter of the Vermont Community Law Center.
Carter says he understands the concerns, but says the trespassing ordinance might have constitutional implications.
"I'm concerned for the First Amendment values that are implicated by telling someone they're no longer allowed to be here," Carter said.
"Hopefully, this is yet another tool to make them realize this illegal behavior can not be tolerated downtown," Higbee said.
"It takes away from the experience of Church Street and gives it a bad name so people don't want to come down here," Desautels said.
Folks who are issued a trespassing citation can fight it before an appeals board made up of a community member, a social services worker and a marketplace employee.
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:31 AM EST2014-03-08 13:31:36 GMT
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. His office says Governor Peter Shumlin will be at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. While theMore >>
The Governor is traveling to Rhode Island Saturday. More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:17 AM EST2014-03-08 13:17:30 GMT
We have some ideas for your Saturday. IRISH FESTIVAL The 19th annual Burlington Irish Heritage Festival kicks off today. There is a lecture about the role of Irish immigrants in the Civil War at theMore >>