Panhandling Regulations

Creating a safe environment for caring

Panhandling or solicitation in Asheville is legal, but it is regulated.

Individuals have a right to solicit or panhandle on public property. However, unregulated activities can impact community safety, traffic flow, sidewalk access, ingress and egress of buildings, and/or disturbance of residents and businesses. The City of Asheville and City Council continually strive to maintain a balance between public safety and facilitating community members’ and visitors’ desire to give. Striking this balance creates a safe public environment while continuing to recognize and respect a culture of giving in our shared community.

Clear laws provide a balance so both the giver and recipient interact in a safe environment. The City of Asheville has a duty to protect the rights and safety of both parties. The information below is designed to clearly define the regulations in place to support safe giving.

Laws and regulations

Maps of high traffic zones

Other ways to care safely

Laws and regulations

Definition of panhandling or solicitation: Use of the spoken, written, or printed word, or other acts as are conducted in the furtherance of the purpose of collecting contributions of any type for the person or group making the communication for others.

In general, panhandling and solicitation are allowed on sidewalks. However it is prohibited to carry out solicitation or panhandling activities under the following circumstances:

  • By forcing yourself on another or accosting them
  • Within 20 feet of a financial institution or ATM
  • Within a outdoor dining area, or to solicit from anyone seated or working in the outdoor dining area
  • Within 8 feet of a transit stop or bus station, or on a public bus
  • Soliciting someone who is standing in line to enter a business
  • By touching someone without their consent
  • By blocking someone’s path, or blocking the entrance or exit to a business or vehicle
  • By using obscene or threatening language
  • By using a threatening gesture or action
  • After dark
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs


  • Verbal solicitation and panhandling is prohibited anywhere within the high traffic zones of downtown and Biltmore Village as defined by the maps below.
  • Panhandling and solicitation are prohibited on a median, in the street and/or on a roadside shoulder.

Find the full ordinance text at these links.

Maps of high traffic zones


Other ways to care safely

The City recognizes that some people feel more comfortable giving privately. There are many ways to support those in need in our community. Those who prefer their giving to be a private action can refer to community organizations designed to provide aid.

  • Churches
  • Charity organizations that take donations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Service organizations


PDF Copy of Panhandling Brochure