Bellefonte council considers solicitation ordinance changes

mmorgan@centredaily.comOctober 13, 2013 

Bellefonte residents who don’t want to be bothered by door-to-door solicitation might not have to worry about it much longer.

Borough Council has been kicking around the idea of updating to ordinance to limit solicitation, and Manager Ralph Stewart expects the issue to be voted on in one of the next couple of meetings.

The change would establish a “do not disturb” list that residents would have the chance to join. When companies apply for solicitation permits with the borough, that list will also be distributed.

“I think it’s worthy of having some changes that would improve the system we have in place,” Stewart said.

He added that if the “do not disturb” list is violated, the entity runs the risk of losing its license.

The vote would also tighten language within the ordinance and make it more clear. Stewart said it can be confusing to decipher what constitutes a nonprofit.

For-profit companies also have solicitation rights with the permit.

Stewart said the changes aren’t intended to infringe on anyone’s free speech, but the topic was brought up after the borough received several complains from residents who said they didn’t want to be bothered.

Council members have talked about the idea of a complete ban, but Stewart said it would probably be challenged.

Vana Dainty, a council member, said the ordinance change is a good compromise because it allows solicitation but gives people the option not to be bothered.

If the new ordinance passes, Stewart said he will circulate instructions how to sign up for the “do not disturb” list.

Matt Morgan can be reached at 235-3928. Follow him on Twitter @MetroMattMorgan.

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