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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER - page 10 / 14

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Case 6:06-cv-01583-GAP-KRS

Document 88

Filed 09/26/2008

Page 10 of 14

Finally, as to the City’s desire to prevent crowding, there is no evidence that the parks in

the GDPD are being overused.11 Furthermore, this Ordinance does not ameliorate overuse. For

example, nothing in the Ordinance limits the size of the groups or prevents 25 different groups

from receiving permits to hold large group feedings at the same time, on a single day, and at the

same park. Nor does the Ordinance do anything to prevent a different group from holding a large

group feeding in any given park on every day of the year. Instead, the only reason that a person

may be denied a large group feeding permit is if he has already received two permits for that park

within the previous 12-month period.

This brings us then to the final and perhaps real, though unstated, reason for the City’s

adoption of this ordinance: re-distributing the putatively negative socio-economic effects of the

homeless dispersing into surrounding neighborhoods after food sharing events; in short,

discouraging the homeless from congregating in downtown Orlando, and more particularly, the

Thornton Park and Lake Eola neighborhoods. As stated by Mayor Dyer, it is an effort to spread

the impact of large group feedings among Orlando’s parks. TR at 244-46.

While the City clearly has the right to regulate the use of its parks, this Ordinance does not

do so. It does not limit the number or size of groups using a park at a particular time; nor does it

regulate their activities (e.g., noise), require litter controls, or enhance public safety. Even if the

expressed concerns were genuine, existing ordinances – which do not place restrictions on First

11Lisa Early, the director of Families, Parks and Recreation for the City of Orlando, testified that there has been an overall increase in park usage from 2005 through 2007. TR at 337, 344 and

  • 349.

    However, neither Ms. Early nor the City offered any credible evidence of overuse.

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