Councillor LaMattina Files Street Performers Permitting Ordinance

By Phil Orlandella

Currently, the City of Boston does not regulate or require permits for street performers, but that could change if the City Council passes an ordinance filed by Councillor Sal LaMattina and Bill Linehan.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to have reasonable regulations for street performers in the city in order to ensure access to public areas as well as public safety,” Councillor LaMattina expressed.

This is a re-file from last year and the Counselor hopes to have a hearing on this issue and work with the administration to create some sort of regulations.

This proposal is not anti—street performers but rather helping them from getting bullied, like those reported at Faneuil Hall, as well as residents from being solicited.

“We have received several complaints from both street performers and residents who have felt harassed from some of the other performers that are utilizing the public space, particularly in the Faneuil Hall area,” Councillor LaMattina noted.

The ordinance is designed to help performers work with the City to share space and abide by the rules involving noise, pedestrian access and solicitation.

“This ordinance would ensure access for street performers while maintaining accessibility of public space,” LaMattina said.

The bill does not affect sale of items but will have some rulings and penalties on acting, singing, playing music, pantomime, juggling, magic, dancing, reading, puppetry and reciting.

Boston Police Department, Municipal Police and authorized personnel from the Department of Public Works will enforce the ordinance if passed.

In Faneuil Hall, the Department of Property and Construction Management will enforce the provisions of the ordinance.

Performances can take place in public areas, except within one hundred feet of an elementary or secondary school, library, church while in session, hospital at any time and other public areas deemed by Public Works.

Police, Public Works and the Department of Property and Construction Management will designate time, place and manner that street performers are allowed permits as well as revoke permits.

No performer or group of performers may perform less than fifty feet from another.

“Any regulations must be narrowly tailored to allow access for street performers, while ensuring the safety and convenience of users of public sidewalks and streets,” the Counselor said. “Undue interference with the passage of people through public areas is the key to this ordinance.”

A public hearing will be scheduled in a few weeks.

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