Essex’s public nuisance ordinance faces another delay

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 11:05 PM EDT
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ESSEX, Vt. (WCAX) - A public nuisance ordinance in the town of Essex is on hold again. Years have gone into piecing one together so police can better respond to certain complaints.

On Monday, the select board removed the section about “aggressive panhandling” after community members expressed concern. Burlington faced a similar backlash in 2014 as people argued it was unconstitutional.

“Our concerns are around making it illegal for people to ask for money, which is a violation of free speech,” Essex Selectboard Vice Chair Tracey Delphia said.

Delphia said while the ordinance won’t specifically address panhandling, the aggressive part will be addressed under other sections of the ordinance such as disorderly conduct.

A few weeks ago, the select board also removed a portion of the public nuisance ordinance having to do with firearms, as it conflicted with state law.

The public nuisance ordinance will come back up for discussion at the Nov. 7 meeting.

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Town of Essex works to put together public nuisance ordinance