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Door-knock ordinance starts June 19

Although aimed at sales calls, Cabot’s door-knock ordinance could also mean the end visits by church members and fundraising cookie sales. The ordinance, approved at the May 20 city council meeting, goes into effect June 19.

During discussion at the meeting, alderman Kevin Davis, who helped frame the ordinance, said no groups or individuals are targeted in the restriction, but any uninvited solicitation to any residence where a sign prohibiting such visits is “prominently displayed.”

Mayor Bill Cypert and aldermen Ed Long, Ann Gilliam, Rick Prentice, Ryan Flynn, Angie Jones, Jon Moore and Davis attended the meeting. Dallan Buchanan was absent. There were no dissenting votes on approving the ordinance.

Ordinance 14-2013 sets out the policy for residents to post their residences to prohibit solicitation visits. Under the ordinance, it would be a misdemeanor subject to fines of $100 to $1,000 to solicit at residences that are posted.

Signs stating “No Solicitors,” “No Solicitation,” “No Soliciting,” “No Peddlers,” or “No Trespassing” would establish the residence as posted.

Requirements for the signs are that the lettering must be at least 1-inch tall and posted conspicuously to be seen as persons approach the residence.

Prentice said he is not satisfied with the ordinance because it does not require a business permit. He said he is afraid he will get “slammed” by sales groups. “This is just going to open Cabot up to anyone to come in,” he remarked.

Prentice also questioned the lack of restrictions on persons conducting sales calls, referring to incidents in Maumelle and Sherwood between drivers, who moved sales persons in areas, and law enforcement officials.

Flynn said requiring permits has been questioned as interfering with interstate commerce. Rather than trying to “skirt” the law, it was easier to leave prohibition of soliciting on the highways to state regulations, and let property owners limit access to their property.

Davis agreed, saying the ordinance would be preferable to the city trying to establish who may or may not enter private property. Under the ordinance, it would be up to the property owner to limit access, he said.

Davis, responding to a question of how the ordinance would affect groups such as Girl Scouts, said there are no exceptions in the ordinance.

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