Pocopson moves to ban soliciting

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New law halts door-to-door peddlers; exceptions for civic, political, religious groups

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times

POCOPSON — At a recent Board of Supervisors’ meeting, township officials voted to establish an ordinance banning peddling and soliciting in the township and violators could face fines as high as $1,000.

According to Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary, homeowners’ associations can post discrete signs notifying of the ordinance. Conary also noted the township is investigating the cost of posting signs on major roadways entering the township to alert people to the law.

“If someone knocks on your door, you can tell them they are not allowed to solicit in your neighborhood,” Conary told audience members.

Officials said enforcement would be a challenge since the township does not have a police department; however, the township Code Enforcement Officer has the authority to enact penalties.

Conary noted that according to constitutional law, there are exceptions to the restrictions which include religious activities and minors who are fundraising such as the Boy and Girl Scouts.

Supervisors also voted to amend the township code by adding definitions for fences/walls and other property enclosures. Conary said the ordinance adds standards for the installation, inspection and maintenance of the enclosures, which had been limited to this point.

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5 Comments

  1. Phoebe Kitson says:

    I appreciate these efforts as well.

  2. Kris Firey-Poling says:

    I’m so glad that our Township has voted to ban this bothersome activity! I can’t tell you how many times unknown people have knocked on our door – it was scary! Thanks, Mike, for initiating this issue in our neighborhood. I would gladly chip in to purchase the signs to keep solicitors away.

    • Mike McGann says:

      I certainly agree that it has been concerning in our neighborhood and others in the township (something folks who live on main roads are probably not aware of) — and may have been linked to a couple of robbery attempts. But I think credit is due the Board of Supervisors who took my suggestion and ran with it — and did so quickly.

  3. Kristin Hoover says:

    What about door knocking for political candidates or flyer distributions for food drives or other community efforts? These need to be exceptions to the Ordinance as well.

    Can somebody please clarify?

    • Mike McGann says:

      Those are exempt — Constitutionally protected activities. The ordinance only specifically bans door-to-door sales (but again, exempts charitable, civic, youth and religious groups — no issues with Girl Scouts selling cookies, or school kids selling for school fundraisers) of goods and services.
      Basically, this stops the glut of folks knocking on doors trying to sell siding, roofing, paving, etc. (most of whom are annoying, but a very few are engaged in more nefarious activities) Probably not an issue where you live, but a problem in some of the township’s walkable neighborhoods. East Marlborough is looking some controlling ordinance and Kennett already has a ban.

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