Sandwich City Council looking to create no solicitor sticker program

As proposed, soliciting would only be allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., or sundown

The city of Sandwich is looking at creating a program that would allow residents to obtain no solicitor stickers to deter solicitors from knocking on their doors.

The issue was discussed at the Sandwich City Council Committee of the Whole meeting June 5. In addition to the sticker program, the City Council is looking at changing the hours of solicitation. Right now, the city doesn’t allow solicitation between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

“We don’t want people banging on the doors when it’s dark.”

—  City Administrator Geoff Penman

The city is looking to adjust those rules to say that solicitation is allowed only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (or sundown, whichever is earlier) and that solicitation will not be allowed on Sundays. City Council members also discussed the possibility of the city implementing a no-knock registry.

As part of a no-knock registry, homeowners could register with the city if they didn’t want solicitors. That list would be shared with potential solicitors so they would know not to go to that home.

Fourth Ward Alderman Fred Kreinbrink said he was concerned that such an ordinance would create another data base.

“That’s another data base that you and your staff have to maintain,” Kreinbrink said in addressing Sandwich City Clerk Denise Ii. “I think you’re better off in doing a no solicitor sticker on the door and calling it quits. That’s my opinion.”

Ii expressed her doubts about how effective a no-knock registry would be.

“What has worked in some communities may not work here,” she said. “We can’t seem to control the solicitors right now. Last week, I received two phone calls. Two different sets of solicitors were out there. One was a roofer and I don’t even know what the other one was for. We’ve had a lot of people lately coming in and picking up [solicitor application] packets and I never see them again. So I don’t see how a no-knock list would be beneficial. It sounded good in theory, but if we can’t control registering the solicitors, what good is a no-knock list?”

As part of the city’s rules regarding solicitation, solicitors must first file an application with the city clerk and pay a $25 fee to cover the cost of processing the application. The permit fee is $25 per day for each solicitor or peddler.

With the majority of City Council members agreeing a no-knock registry wouldn’t be a good idea, the city is moving ahead with a plan that would allow residents to obtain no solicitor stickers from the city. Following the meeting, City Administrator Geoff Penman talked about the reasons for changing the hours when solicitation is allowed.

“We don’t want people banging on the doors when it’s dark,” he said. “It’s just to try to narrow it down a little bit so people have some peace at home.”

Penman also talked about why the city requires solicitors to have a permit.

“The importance of getting a permit is that they’re registered with us so we know who is out there,” he said.