FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A temporary truce has been declared in the “on again-off again” feud between the City of Ft. Lauderdale and groups which want to feed the homeless outside the parameters of the city’s law.
Last week the city filed a motion to appeal the stay of enforcement, issued by Broward Circuit Judge Thomas Lynch, on the feeding of the homeless in outdoor venues. Judge Lynch issued the ruling in response to a suit brought by Arnold Abbot in which he claim the city was in violation of a previous court order which allowed him to feed the homeless on Fort Lauderdale beach.
Upon the city’s filing of the appeal Thursday, the homeless feeding ordinance automatically went back into effect.
The ordinance restricts homeless feedings indoors where there are bathrooms and the food can be heated. Abbott, 90, who has fed the homeless on the beach every Wednesday for years, has been cited three times for violating it.
On Monday, Judge Lynch took up the appeal.
“My client will be harmed if you don’t lift the stay,” Abbott’s lawyer told the judge.
Judge Lynch ended up extending his stay of enforcement for 45 days. In that time, he ordered Abbott and his representatives to have talks with the city to reach a compromise.
“We are pleased to sit down and work on a solution and agree to use Judge Spector as a facilitator,” said city attorney Michael Berg.
Abbott’s supporters said they believe the ordinance is unconstitutional and will be struck down.
“They want to herd the homeless and force you to get a permit,” said Bill Scherer.
Abbott and his group Love Thy Neighbor said their next feeding will be this Wednesday, Christmas Eve.
“We will win this fight,” said Abbott