A popular upstate New York tourist destination grappling with problems posed by the homeless and aggressive panhandlers has banned people from sitting or lying on sidewalks.
The Saratoga Springs City Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance that would impose a fine of $50 to $100 on anyone who continues to sit or lie on a sidewalk after a warning is issued. The measure passed by a 4-1 vote.
Opponents of the ban say the city is purposely targeting the homeless, but councilmembers say the ordinance is about ensuring the public's safety.
City officials, business leaders and community groups that provide services to the homeless have been dealing with the problem of aggressive panhandlers who congregate on downtown streets in Saratoga, home to a famous thoroughbred racetrack and other popular tourist attractions.