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Delaware Headlines

Dover's proposed anti-dawdling law put on back burner for now

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Roman Battaglia
/
Delaware Public Media

A new anti-dawdling ordinance proposed last month in Dover has hit some snags.

The Dover City Council recently tabled action on the ordinance until next year.

Council President Roy Sudler Jr. explains why.

“There were a lot of discrepancies in regards to whether or not the ordinance is actually constitutionally sound and ethically sound," Sudler said. "So we wanted to get some more input from the community, as well as further legal opinion moving forward....and also additional input from the ACLU, as we look forward to forming a committee.”  

The ACLU of Delaware spoke out against the proposal shortly after it was introduced by Councilman David Anderson last month.

Anderson says unlike the city’s loitering law, this ordinance would focus on people standing around blocking entrances and display windows to area businesses. He noted that police would first issue a warning. A second violation would generate a ticket and a fine, but no arrest on their record.

But the ACLU argued that it could unfairly target certain groups, like the homeless.

“At this point it appears that we will not pursue the ordinance as written," Sudler explained." It looks like we’re at a pivot point, where we’re now looking at possibly just doing away with the ordinance altogether and moving forward with looking at the current loitering law and possibly making it a City ordinance - that if  you’re loitering, you’re going to receive a citation.”

Sudler believes the next step is to form a committee - made up of faith-based organizations and community members to get further input on how to move forward.