City Councilors Sal LaMattina and Bill Linehan want to require street performers to buy $40 annual licenses for the right to perform on Boston streets.
The city council tomorrow considers their request for a hearing on a proposed ordinance that would require street performers to wear their permits - and to show them to inquiring police officers and to stay at least 100 feet away from elementary schools and hospitals - and at least 50 feet away from other buskers.
The measure would require members of groups to buy individual permits - up to a maximum of $160 per group.
The proposed regulation would also let police or the city DPW ban performers who receive five "noncriminal dispositions" in a year.
The city has not regulated street performers since 2006, when it agreed to give up a permitting system to settle a First Amendment suit filed by Community Arts Advocates. The stipulation that settled the case did call for "reasonable time, place and manner restrictions of the expressive rights of street performers and their audiences" in Downtown Crossing.
The hearing request states:
Street performers enhance the character of the city and the City of Boston seeks to encourage street performers while maintaining the reasonable expectations of residents to the enjoyment of peace and quiet in their homes as well as the ability of businesses to conduct their services uninterrupted.
It is in the interest of the City of Boston to reasonably regulate street performers in order to balance the interests of performers with those of the residents and businesses of the city.
LaMattina represents the North End; Linehan represents downtown.
The council's regular Wednesday meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.