Council’s Public Safety Committee, comprised of Councilmen Jan Davis, Cecil Bothwell and Chris Pelly, heard a presentation from city attorneys, staffers and police officers during an afternoon committee meeting. The downtown training room was packed with street performers who complained that they weren’t properly notified of the proposed new rules. Most of those who spoke also took issue with the proposed regulations, stating that they would hurt their ability to make money performing for passersby.
The city proposal came in the form of a pilot program that would regulate three downtown hot spots where street performers play regularly, as well as suggestions for updating city ordinances.
The pilot project: One performer would be allowed in each of these areas for a designated period of time, such as one or two hours. The performer would be required to stay within a specific marked area of a few square feet, and no other performer will be allowed within 100 feet:
Haywood Street in front of Woolworth Walk
Due to the high volume of crowds, outdoor dining and multiple crosswalks, staff is proposing
this area be limited to a performance that includes no more than one individual performer
within an area measuring 3 x 4 feet. This could be located either next to the building or
nearer the street by the street tree. No other performers would be allowed within 100 feet of
this space (in all directions), which would not impact other nearby spots that are favored by
Flat Iron at Battery Park Avenue and Wall Street
On the flat side of the Flat Iron sculpture, staff is proposing a space approximately 5 x 6 feet
to ensure that there is 6 feet of sidewalk passage on all sides. No other performers would
be allowed within 110 feet of this space (in all directions). This designated space, which is
100 feet or more from the Woolworth Walk location, would impact the southwest corner of
Wall Street/ Battery Park.
Pack Square near Rhubarb restaurant
Due to the high volume of pedestrian traffic, outdoor dining, two crosswalks and a pushcart
adjacent to where street performances typically occur, staff is proposing the designation of
an area areas adjacent to the Biltmore Avenue curb that is 4 x 8 feet. No other performers
would be allowed within 100 feet of this space (in all directions), which would not impact
other adjacent areas on the east side Biltmore Avenue in the Pack Square area.
Ordinance updates include the following:
-All performers and equipment must remain inside the designated performance space.
-Require street performers to stop their performances if onlookers that have stopped to listen are spilling into city streets.
-Performances involving the use of knives, swords, torches, axes, saws, fire or other potentially dangerous objects, or that involve acrobatics, tumbling or other inherently dangerous activities would be prohibited.
David Forbes of The Asheville Blade created a Storify of today’s Asheville busking regulations discussion.