Council passes ordinance setting rules for charitable soliciting

By ZEINAB NAJM
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The City Council unanimously passed an ordinance allowing charitable and civil organizations to collect donations if they don’t interfere with traffic flow.

Under the ordinance, “no person, without authority, shall block, obstruct, impede or otherwise interfere with the normal flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon a public street or highway in this city by means of a barricade, object or device, or with his person.”

The city ordinance comes after Gov. Rick Snyder signed a state law in July making the roadway donations legal.

Attorney General Bill Schuette said Michigan’s traffic code had not allowed charitable roadway donations, but were still being done across the state.

Local governments set the the rules on how charities or civic groups can solicit donations on public streets.

The new ordinance for non-profit tax exempt organizations was passed during the council’s Sept. 12 meeting.

Anyone soliciting donations on the behalf of a charitable and civic organization during daylight hours must gain council approval, maintain at least $500,000 in liability insurance, be 18 years of age or older and wear high-visibilty safety apparel meeting standards by the International Safety Equipment Association.

People who plan to collect donations cannot be in a work zone and have to be within an intersection where traffic control devices are present. The city will not be held liable for damages that occur at intersections.

Violation of the ordinance will result in a civil infraction. The dollar amount for the civil infraction will be decided by 19th District Court judges on their annual schedule for fines which can be paid at the court.

(Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)