Council modifies solicitors ordinance

Jan 9, 2014 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Door-to-door sales will be allowed, but vendors must respect "no solicitation" signs.

The City of Riverton has a new door-to-door solicitation ordinance.

The regulation was passed on the third and final reading Tuesday during a Riverton City Council meeting.

In the end, the council and mayor approved language that had been cut down substantially since it was first presented. The issue was brought to the council in October, when council member Mary Ellen Christensen said the city should have a record of what door-to-door merchants -- especially those from out of state -- were knocking on residents' doors. Residents' complaints of uninvited guests gave the ordinance some push at the council meetings.

Also at issue were the constitutional rights of out-of-state merchants, the needs of local solicitors, the meaning of "no solicitation" signs, permit issuing, and worry over personal information being collected and the occurrence of dangerous incidents.

In a unanimous vote, the council agreed to the following language:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to enter upon the premises of another with the intent to sell merchandise, either from stock or by order, when such property is posted with a sign prohibiting solicitation. This section shall not apply if entry is made by prior appointment or a contractual relationship between the person and the owner exists which allows for entry, or to the use of door hangers as a means of communication."

There is a trespassing ordinance in place for the city that would not interfere with this ordinance, city staff said.

Riverton Police Department chief Mike Broadhead said the new ordinance would serve as a valuable tool to deal with solicitors who ignore posted signs.

"This is clearly a compromise of what different people had (with) different ideas," Broadhead said. "At least now we have a tool, and we can say, 'Have you posted your property as no solicitation? Here's a way you can avoid that problem in the future.'"

The ordinance would help "offer some service," Broadhead added.

"I think it will be helpful in the long run," he said.

The original ordinance asked for solicitors to report to city offices before conducting their business in the city, fill out an application, provide valid identification and pay a fee for a permit. The document could have been revoked if a salesperson were rude, violent or overly aggressive or ignored a "no solicitation" sign.

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