An ordinance passed by the city council Tuesday evening forbids the formation of group hangouts outside businesses that obstruct or interfere with commerce.
The new ordinance will grant the city’s police the power to clear up crowds that gather outside establishments often scaring off customers.
“As we know, New Jersey no longer has a loitering law,” said Kenneth McDaniel, councilman at-large, “We also know that many residents are fed up with large crowds of folks who gather in front of establishments blocking entrances, impeding peoples’ right to go in and interact or participate in commerce, patronize establishments: bodegas, stores, what have you.”
McDaniel who sponsored the resolution hopes some of the hangouts that form outside businesses will be reduced, for too often corner gatherings that are always in front of a business end tragically when a gunman or a vehicle passes spraying bullets.
“What this ordinances does is it gives police the authority to break up those large crowds,” said McDaniel, “so that the business owners and people who patronize those businesses will have some freedom and some relief from these individuals that impede commerce.”
The carefully written ordinance ensures that 1st Amendment rights granted under the United States Constitution are protected by barring conducts that fall outside the free speech amendment that interfere with daily business operations.
An individual caught violating the ordinance can face a fine of up to $2,000, maximum of 90-days in prison, maximum of 90-days’ community service or a combination of the three at the discretion of the judge.