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St. Augustine to vote on silencing street performers

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Updated: 7/06/2013 12:32 am
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- City leaders in St. Augustine will soon vote on whether or not to further restrict street performers in the downtown district.

Street performers and vendors are currently prohibited from Hypolita Street from St. George west to Cordova Street.

Jason Catron is one of the many sounds you'll hear along St. George Street. He's been performing for nearly a decade and has picked up a pretty wide skill set along the way. "I've played from here to St. Louis to San Fransisco and New York," said the St. Augustine native.

The city recently silenced street performers in the heart of downtown on Hypolita Street west of St. George. The proposal would expand the ban east of Hypolita to Charlotte Street.

The ban is backed by quite a few business owners who say the performers can be disrespectful, dirty and detract customers from their shops.

"It can be offensive or obtrusive when we have guests coming and going," said Shane Farmer.

Farmer manages Spy Global Cuisine and Lounge. He and other nearby shop owners want the city to continue its crackdown on street performers.

"If they can spend the time doing all that applying themselves to music, they can apply themselves to a better quality of life," said Farmer.

If passed, the ban would encompass all of Hypolita Street, which is known as one of downtown's busiest stretches for visitors.

Catron suggests the city to register all performers and enact a permit-based system.

Catron says he's for whatever solution that will keep the unique sounds alive in the heart of downtown. "It adds to the cultural experience of coming to St. Augustine."

There will be a public hearing Monday before commissioners vote on the proposal. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
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