Worcester’s City Manager responds to the City Council’s questions about use of public space in re Occupy Worcester. Full text in original PDF; first page below. Note that the City Solicitor is of the opinion that Lincoln Square is governed by park rules. To the non-lawyer, some sections of this are confusing, like the City Manager’s blanket statement that “Permits are required for park use.” If there’s anything worth noting in this letter, please add a comment below.
Michael V. O’Brien City Manager
November 16, 2011
CITY OF WORCESTER
TO THE WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL COUNCILORS: We uphold the 1st Amendment principals of Freedom of Speech and Right to Assemble in the context of upholding all laws, statutes and ordinances.
As such, City Solicitor David Moore has outlined all the laws, statutes and ordinances that apply to the use of public spaces (please see attached correspondence). As has been presented by the City Solicitor, as I have consistently stated publicly, as has been consistently conveyed to Occupy Worcester, and as I have presented to our electeds and our community: squatting, occupying and camping on public property is not allowed.
All forms of protest and speech are allowed on public property, with exceptions highlighted within the law.
They can use public sidewalks for this purpose, they cannot block the use of public sidewalks or hinder movement by others. All other laws, statutes and ordinances apply.
Public health laws and nuisance ordinances do not allow the staging, stockpiling and disposal of personal items, sleeping materials, food, sanitary waste such as urine, fecal matter etc. on any public property which would obviously include war and veterans memorials. All other laws, statutes and ordinances apply.
Permits are required for park use. These permits, as issued, grant to the permitee the use of a specified area of facility or a park, for a specified period of time, along with the stipulations, conditions and fees of that use per all the rules and regulations. Every permit is tailored to that specified period and the type of use. Permitted activities have precedence over unpermitted activities. Permit stipulations and conditions must be honored by the permitee or the permit may be rescinded. All other laws, statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations apply.
Parade permits are required to hold parades and gatherings within the rights of way of a public street. All other laws, statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations apply.