Manchester Wants To Know Who Is Soliciting

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

MANCHESTER – The Township Council has changed its solicitation ordinance to get a better idea of who is canvassing neighborhoods.

Solicitors will continue to be bound by the “no knock” ordinance. They will still have to be licensed. The major changes involve the information they need to provide in order to get that license.

The ordinance states that when making an application, the applicant’s name, description, and address/headquarters must be used. If it is a company, then the company’s leaders must be named. Other information required is a brief statement about the business, vehicle description and license plate numbers.

Applicants will be fingerprinted and a background check will be performed. The police chief has to sign off on the individual. The new ordinance lists a variety of offenses that would prevent someone from being given a license, including violent crimes and drugs.

The license can be removed if there are a lot of residents with legitimate complaints about the behavior of the person with the license or if they commit a crime.

The permit must be carried with the person, and vehicle permits must be visible. Permits cannot be transferred from one person to another. The permits can’t even be transferred between employees of the same company.

There wasn’t an incident that triggered these specific changes, business administrator Donna Markulic said.

The “no knock” ordinance was started years ago due to unwanted solicitors going door-to-door, and even managing to make it into the gated communities, she said. These changes are the next steps in the process to protect residents.

The ordinance allows the following people to continue to visit homes:

  • Nonprofits whose money goes to charity
  • Public utilities that have their identification
  • Companies making visits or deliveries that the resident ordered
  • Government canvassers

When it comes to private streets, such as the ones in certain developments, the management has the choice of whether this ordinance applies. Even if a solicitor has a license from the town, they still need permission from the management of the community.