From correspondent Tammy Grubb
The Board of Aldermen offered several options Tuesday night for keeping a Jones Ferry Road corner available to day laborers looking for work at while preserving neighborhood peace and safety. (See our most recent story here.)
Opponents of the town’s current anti-lingering ordinance want it repealed, because they say it penalizes the workers and violates their right to be in a public place. The ordinance bans loitering between 11 a.m. and 5 a.m. at the corner of Jones Ferry and Davie roads, where primarily Hispanic and African-American men have traditionally waited for work. It was adopted in 2007 in response to complaints about harassment, trespassing, drinking and public urination by people who were not there to look for work, officials said.
In Tuesday’s unanimous vote, the board requested staff look into alternatives, including whether the town should hired a full-time, on-site person to help those looking for work and mitigate continuing criminal and public nuisance activities.
Other ideas included setting hours when employers could solicit workers, creating a no-stopping zone on both sides of Jones Ferry Road and talking with county officials about how other agencies, like Social Services, might be able to help. The board also directed staff to research where the public right of way is located on both sides of the road.
The board will hear from staff and give residents a chance to offer ideas, too, when they return to the issue in November.
We'll have a full story on the aldermen's discussion coming Sunday in The Chapel Hill News.