Orange County NC Website
1 <br /> ORANGE COUNTY <br /> BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS <br /> ACTION AGENDA ITEM ABSTRACT <br /> Meeting Date: October 3, 2022 <br /> Action Agenda <br /> Item No. 6-a <br /> SUBJECT: Regulation of Gatherings on and near School Property and Public Playgrounds <br /> DEPARTMENT: Board of Commissioners <br /> ATTACHMENT(S): INFORMATION CONTACT: <br /> Draft Ordinance John Roberts, County Attorney, 245- <br /> 2318 <br /> PURPOSE: To present for first reading an ordinance regulating picketing on or within a <br /> specified distance of School Property and Public Playgrounds. <br /> BACKGROUND: The Board of Commissioners requested information on how the County may <br /> regulate protests or large gatherings in Orange County. The Board initially received information <br /> on this subject at its February 1, 2022 Business meeting. At that meeting the Board discussed <br /> many aspects of this type of regulation including prohibiting large gatherings on certain public <br /> school properties. The Board further discussed this topic at its May 10, 2022 work session. At <br /> that work session the Board determined parades would not be regulated and provided further <br /> direction to the County Attorney for revisions to be brought back to the Board for future <br /> consideration. At the June 2, 2022 work session, the Board determined to move forward with an <br /> ordinance prohibiting picketing on School Property. At the June 21, 2022, Business meeting the <br /> Board determined the ordinance would be brought back at its meeting in October. The agenda <br /> materials for each prior discussion may be viewed at the links above. <br /> Pursuant to the Board's prior discussions and input, the County Attorney revised the draft <br /> ordinance which generally provides as follows: <br /> • Only covers Picketing conducted on, or within a yet-to-be-determined number of linear <br /> feet of, School Property and Public Playgrounds including on any public right of way <br /> within that distance; <br /> Recent changes to North Carolina law provide that when a local ordinance involves a potential <br /> criminal penalty, the ordinance may not be adopted at the meeting at which it is first introduced. <br /> Such an ordinance may only be adopted at the next regular meeting following its introduction. <br /> Because one potential penalty of this ordinance is trespass, which is a statutory misdemeanor, <br /> this ordinance may only be adopted at its second reading. Due to the multiple substantive <br /> revisions requested by the Board at prior meetings, the County Attorney recommended this item <br /> be reconsidered at a new first reading. If, at this first reading, the Board determines to move <br />