Peddlers unwelcome in residential areas

People going door-to-door, looking to peddle anything from vacuums to magazines, will no longer be allowed to knock on doors in Greenwood without permission from the resident under new rules proposed by the city council.

Peddlers and solicitors are a nuisance, public safety threat and increasingly unnecessary, said Greenwood City Council member Chuck Landon, who proposed the ban.

“I’ve found nobody, in this day and age with the issues we deal with, that wanted people going up and down streets knocking on doors,” he said.

Under the ban, which still would need approval from the city council, solicitors would no longer be allowed to go door-to-door in residential neighborhoods, unless they were invited by residents or if there was a sign saying sales were welcome, city attorney Krista Taggart said.

That would be a significant change from what is allowed in Greenwood and other local communities.

Currently, Greenwood, Franklin and Johnson County rules require people selling items door-to-door to get a permit from the local government, but they are allowed to sell at homes so long as there is not a sign saying no soliciting.

Those going door-to-door for political candidates, to discuss religion or seeking donations for a charity, would not be banned by the proposed rules, because that would

on people’s First Amendment rights to free speech, Taggart said.

The ban also won’t apply to groups such as the Girl Scouts, sports teams or bands, as anyone under the age of 18 will be exempt.

The police department would be responsible for enforcing the rules, and residents would be encouraged to contact them if they see people selling where they shouldn’t be, Taggart said.

Violating the rules could result in a fine ranging from $50 to $2,500.

Door-to-door sales still would be allowed at businesses as long as there is not a no soliciting sign.

The city has given out about 25 permits a year for solicitors and peddlers, the majority of which went to home security companies, Taggart said.

Laws and court rulings regarding restrictions on solicitors were researched by the city when writing the proposed rules, and she believes that these rules don’t violate the constitution since they are narrowly tailored to effect only sales.

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Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.