Resident asks Pocopson officials to look at solicitation limits

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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  1. Sean says:

    Everyone must remember that soliciting that involves religion or politics may not be banned. They are free speech issues and no sign or ordinance will make them illegal. There is a SCOTUS decision that limits time, but that is about it. Also, there is no one to enforce an ordinance even it one existed. The State Police will not enforce a Pocopson Twp. ordinance either. If you see someone who is suspicious in your neighborhood, copy down their registration information and call the police.

    What we should really be concerned about is the $1,000,000 of open space loans that are about to be spent on the Bernard House. I can’t believe that it is legal to take a loan out for open space, and then use it to rehabilitate a house that will be used as a township office building. Amazing!!!!


  2. katee says:

    thanks Mike for getting the ball rolling! This signage is neccessary, it will aid as a deterent and that is a start!

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