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Council takes door-to-door sales rules past first round

Dec 12, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Riverton City Council has passed on first reading an ordinance regulating door-to-door sales regulations with amendments to certain portions.

During the council's regular meeting, city attorney Rick Sollars came back to the council to say that imposing the ordinance to only out-of-state sellers would be unconstitutional, and that nonprofit groups could be exempt.

Council member Todd Smith said he wouldn't support the ordinance because it could affect the "young entrepreneurs" who shovel snow or pick up tree limbs in the neighborhood and force them to pay for a permit.

"I think it just casts this net too wide," Smith said. "Here we had a little issue that we were trying to deal with, now we've made this huge governmental red tape that everyone has to go into."

Sollars suggested to the council that there be a more specific definition of commercial sales in the ordinance, suggesting that it

pertain to the sale of merchandise and not services.

Council member Mary Ellen Christensen reiterated her initial reason to bring up the issue.

"I think it has to do with public safety... and just the right to feel safe," Christensen said, reminding the council about complaints the city receives about door-to-door peddlers.

Council member Richard Gard suggested the ordinance not be too broad and instead be designated only to those who ignore a "no soliciting" sign and informing homeowners that there is an enforceable ordinance.

"I think what we really should do is change our position from this ordinance and go back to an ordinance that allows you to post a non-solicitation sign on your property and then put a fee for knocking on that door," Gard said. "The problem with this ordinance now is that if you do not go out and post a non solicitation sign (then) we haven't helped the issue."

The council and Riverton Police Department chief Mike Broadhead then discussed revoking permits for rude or aggressive behavior and whether citations issued after a complaint is filed would lead to appearing in court, fines and possible jail time.

"It's one thing I think to revoke a permit ,and it's another thing to charge someone with a crime," Broadhead said. "I'm very wary of trying to enforce something that vague with that kind of a penalty. I'm very uncomfortable with that."

Voting "yes" to the changes in the ordinance were council members, Eric Heiser, Gard and Smith, while Mayor Ron Warpness and council members Lars Baker, Jonathan Faubion and Christensen voted "no."

The ordinance then passed on first reading with only Smith and Gard opposing the action.

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