As the rules stand now, non-commercial solicitors may knock on the doors of Stow homes from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Law Director Brian Reali proposed a change to that rule, extending the time to 9 p.m., after learning about a case in Englewood.
Englewood's time frame for solicitation was also from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ohio Citizen Action, an 80,000-member community organization, disputed the curfew on First Amendment grounds. (The full case is attached to this post in the form of a .pdf.)
The group won the case and the city was ordered to pay $300,000 and amend its law to extend the curfew to 9 p.m.
"I want to thank Brian for keeping up on case law. He's helping us avoid some liability here, that’s huge," said Councilman Mike Rasor.
In light of this decision, Reali said he proposed a change to Stow's law to extend the hours to avoid a similar dispute. The curfew for commercial solicitation will remain from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., he said.
"Non-commercial is basically charities, scouts, political people," Reali explained. "Commercial is for profit companies selling things."
Regardless of the curfew for any type of door-to-door canvassers, there are ways to avoid solicitors from showing up on your doorstep.
- Call the mayor's office at 330-689-2800 and add your address to a do no solicit list.
- Put a no solicitation sign on your front door. (Reali provided Patch with a copy of an acceptable sign. It is attached to this post to print in the form of a .pdf.) The sign applies to both commercial and non-commercial solicitation, he said.
If a solicitor still comes to your door, even if it's within the allowable time frame, and you've posted a sign or are on the list, residents may call the Stow Police Department. Solicitors are never allowed to go door-to-door in Stow on state or national holidays.
Rasor proposed changing the language to "banking holidays."
Another change Reali proposed was increasing the fee for a permit for commercial solicitors from $35 to $45. (A copy of a current permit, with the 6 p.m. curfew, is attached to this post as well in the form of a .pdf.)
"The reason is the cost for a background check on commercial solicitors and we spend a half hour, maybe an hour, getting a license issued per person," he said. "Forty-five dollars would be about a break-even point."
Commercial solicitors, after receiving a permit, must carry around the do not solicit list. Non-commercial solicitors are not required to carry around the list.
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