Struthers council OKs stricter solicitation rules


By Sarah Lehr

slehr@vindy.com

STRUTHERS

City council voted Wednesday to toughen up restrictions against door-to-door solicitors.

The amended rules closely mirror Girard’s ordinance on peddlers.

Licensed solicitors will be permitted only from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Under the previous ordinance, enacted in 2003, solicitation was permitted all days of the week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during Eastern Standard Time and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Eastern Daylight Time.

Additionally, the cost of a solicitation license from the city has increased to $250 for 90 days. It was previously $25 per month or $5 per day. The fees benefit the city’s general fund.

Council also has required applicants to give more detailed information when applying for a license and has upped the maximum fine for violation of the ordinance from $100 to $500.

Other additions include a requirement that solicitors wear badges with their name and organization and a prohibition against solicitors giving false information. City council members say they included those provisions to crack down on scammers.

For First Amendment reasons, the restrictions do not apply to politicians and religious proselytizers, Law Director Dominic Leone said. There is also an exemption, outlined in Ohio law, for people who sell their own goods, including meats and produce.

Council typically votes on final approval of legislation after three readings, but instead voted Wednesday to fast-track the solicitation ordinance before council’s two-month summer recess.

The new rules will take effect immediately after being signed by Mayor Terry Stocker.

In other business, an ordinance banning parking on the north side of West Wilson Street between Fifth and Eighth streets will take effect permanently. The parking rules had been previously been on the books for a 60-day trial period.

The next regular meeting of council will take place Sept. 13.

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