City adopts new peddling, solicitation regulations

By Amanda Crowe acrowe@civitasmedia.com

May 9, 2014

FAIRBORN — Beginning in June, civic organizations and student groups going door-to-door will need to apply for permits along with peddlers and solicitors to avoid penalties.

During Monday’s meeting, city council members adopted an amended version of Chapter 727 to the Fairborn Codified Ordinances, relating to peddlers, vendors, canvassers and charitable solicitations.

Council repealed the previous ordinance on March 17 after City Solicitor Mike Mayer advised that there were several areas of the ordinance that put the city at risk.

“That was in effect for many years but really wasn’t being enforced due to several recent legal challenges,” said Police Chief Terry Barlow.

The objectives of the new ordinance are to comply with court litigation and new case law, citizen protection, police awareness, vendor, solicitor and peddler accountability, and consistent and fair enforcement throughout the entire city.

“Citizen protection as far as I’m concerned is number one. This has to do with door-to-door sales, canvassing, and anything where you’re approaching someone’s residence and knocking on the door trying to make contact with them,” Barlow said. “We’d like to know who’s out there and who’s doing what, obviously to enhance that citizen protection.”

In the regulations, canvassers are defined as any individual intending to make face to face contact with residents door to door. Vendors, solicitors and peddlers are any individuals intending to sell goods and/or services door to door. The law also pertains to contribution requests and advertisement distribution from any individuals or organizations.

Chapter 727 now requires all these defined individuals or groups to obtain a permit from the Fairborn Police Department. The permit maintains that they will comply with the new 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. soliciting hours and “Do Not Solicit List,” as well as observe “No Solicitation” signage. Advertisement distributors are required to have permit but can obtain only one permit for all persons distributing materials.

“They fill out the license application, with no fee, and we’ll complete a background check. The application is mandated to be completed within 72 hours but our goal is same-day turnaround,” said Barlow.

The “Do Not Solicit List” is being compiled by the police department and will be distributed with each permit. It will also be available on the city website and at the police department. Residents can fill out a form and submit their address to be included on the list, which is renewable after five years. Residents can remove their names at any time.

Civic organizations like Boy and Girls Scouts, school and sporting groups, and church organizations are also required to obtain a permit under the new ordinance.

“They do have to get permits, but with those type of organizations, as long as we know who’s out there, we can issue them one license and they’re good to go,” Barlow said.

The first time a group or individual is caught without a permit they will receive a warning and will have to obtain a permit before they can continue their activity. If they do not get a permit, they will receive a minor misdemeanor violation and $150 fine. I they have any priors in the past 12 months their fine will be $250.

“It’s a gradual thing. We won’t be hard and fast right from the get-go,” Barlow added. “It’s a matter of education and we’ll probably be educating them on the street as we go.”