No Soliciting: Green River Ordinance harder to enforce thanks to Supreme Court Ruling.
May 26, 2009
United States Supreme Court decisions have made their way to Windsor.
For many years, Windsor has had the Green River Ordinance in place to keep door-to-door salesmen from peddling their goods without an invitation of a resident.
However, recent rulings by the nation’s highest court have forced the Windsor police department change the way the ordinance is enforced.
In the past, Chief John Michaels said, his officers could investigate the possibility of door-to-door salesmen in neighborhoods with as little as an anonymous phone call stating that people were spotted in the area. Fines were imposed up to $150 for the violators.
The new rulings by the Supreme Court, however, now declare that door-to-door salesmen’s commercial rights to free speech are protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Michaels told the Town Board, Monday, that his department would only be able to cite door-to-door salesmen if a resident’s home is clearly labeled with a “No Solicitors” or “No Trespassing” sign on their front door.
“Now, our complainants must give us their name and address and they must have that sign on their door,” Michaels said. “The solicitors must also have knocked on that door before we can cite them.”
There are some organizations that have always been and still are exempt from the law, including non-profit organizations, religious organizations and political organizations, regardless of if a sign is posted or not.
Simply put, Michaels said, is if a door is posted with No Solicitors” or “No Trespassing” signs and the vacuum cleaner salesman visits for the purpose of making a sale, it is a violation of the Green River Ordinance. If the property is not posted with those signs, it is no longer a violation of the law.
Town attorney John Frey also said it is not enough for a homeowners’ association or a metro district to post a sign on behalf of the entire subdivision. Signs must be posted on every home in a clearly visible spot that wishes door-to-door salesmen to stay off their property.
“We can still enforce the law, but it’s on the homeowner to start with a sign on their door,” Windsor Mayor John Vazquez said.