Resident asks Pocopson officials to look at solicitation limits

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By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times

POCOPSON — The time of the Fuller Brush Man or Avon Lady is long gone – in part, because people are afraid to open their doors to unfamiliar faces.

Stories about strangers luring children from backyards, robberies in broad daylight, and home invasions often monopolize the evening news. In addition,  neighborhood schools hold seminars on “stranger danger” and children are cautioned to walk in pairs or groups and to stop only at homes where you know someone while fund-raising.

During Monday evening’s township Board of Supervisors’ meeting, township resident Mike McGann asked supervisors to consider adopting an ordinance regulating soliciting in the township.

McGann (the editor and majority owner of The Times), who resides in the Brandywine Hills development, cited recent incidents in neighboring townships of individuals posing as solicitors, allegedly casing properties and breaking into homes. He said Kennett Township has already adopted a soliciting ordinance and neighboring East Marlborough Township is considering one. And although Pocopson Township does not have its own police agency to enforce the ordinance, “it would discourage those soliciting to go somewhere else.”

One resident suggested the neighborhood or homeowners’ association could adopt its own solicitation rule and place signs at the entrances to its development. But McGann said older neighborhoods, such as Brandywine Hills, do not have a homeowners’ association; therefore, there’s no mechanism to implement the signage. McGann said he would like to see signs posted at township borders notifying the general public as well as educating residents that some solicitors need a permit. Typically, such ordinances exempt political, religious and local civic groups, such as the Girl Scouts.

Supervisors agreed to look at East Marlborough’s draft ordinance to decide if it would also make sense for Pocopson Township.  Supervisors’ Chairman Steve Conary added that even though the township does not have a local police force, “there are ways to enforce the ordinance if it is adopted.”

Supervisors noted that currently if a group or individual calls or stops by the township office inquiring about solicitation, their driver’s license is copied, and they are told to avoid areas that have a “no soliciting” sign posted.

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