Covina : Ordinance Targets Loitering

The Covina City Council has introduced an ordinance prohibiting loitering and speeding in parking areas near fast food restaurants to control large, and at times unruly, crowds that gather there.

Crowds of teen-agers, sometimes as many as 500 in one location, have gathered near some fast food restaurants in the city, police said. The peak season for such gatherings begins in mid-September after school starts and typically lasts through March or April, according to a report Police Chief John Lentz submitted to the council.

Under the proposed ordinance, violators could be fined up to $500 or jailed up to six months for the misdemeanor offense, Lt. Allen Anderson said. The ordinance would pass the cost of enforcing the law on to parking-lot owners and business owners near the lots.

In April, the council passed two other ordinances to help police patrol areas near fast-food restaurants. A curfew ordinance prohibits youths under 18 from loitering after 10 p.m., and another ordinance authorizes the city to revoke a business license if the business activity jeopardizes public peace.

The new proposal is scheduled for final review by the council at its Sept. 5 meeting.

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