Amid discussions about policing deliveries of weekly advertisements and other unsolicited materials, Upper Arlington City Council is considering whether the city should establish a "do not knock" registry.

During a March 19 discussion of various proposals, council members said a "do not knock" registry would identify residences where solicitations could not be made. It would be similar to a no-solicitation sign posted on a door, but violators could face up to a $250 fine.

Council Vice President Brendan King said he brought the issue to the table on behalf of a small number of residents who inquired about having Upper Arlington establish a registry similar to one enacted in Hilliard in August 2015.

There, residents can register to opt out of solicitations at their homes via the city's website.

"We're still analyzing the need for it, the appetite for it," King said. "I had had a couple community members ask about it."

No formal legislation has been proposed, and King said council members haven't decided if they'll pursue such a measure.

During council's conference session discussion last month, the City Attorney's Office provided a staff report and draft legislation for consideration.

According to a staff report by City Attorney Jeanine Hummer and Assistant City Attorney Darlene Pettit, the draft ordinance would further "the governmental interest of protecting residents' well-being, tranquility and privacy interests in their homes."

The report instructed council members to ponder how the city would make the registry available for "peddlers" and "solicitors" -- be it online or making it available for inspection.

It also said city leaders would need to decide if they should provide registrants with "no solicitation" stickers and how long to keep residents on the list.

"The draft legislation has five years," the report stated. "Some other communities require re-enrollment on an annual basis, others five years and others have no expiration."

Another consideration will be whether the city should limit a "do not knock" rule only to commercial solicitations, thereby allowing charities, schools and other nonprofit organizations to continue door-to-door inquiries or requests for donations.

New laws cover

'unsolicited materials'

Council did unanimously approve two ordinances April 9 related to "peddlers, solicitors and canvassers" and deliveries of "unsolicited written materials."

Under existing city law, a "canvasser" is anyone who goes on the premises of any private residence without invitation who "seeks to disseminate any verbal or written message, including ideas, thoughts or messages regarding any cause, issue or religion" and anyone who circulates petitions for signatures or any political candidate. Council agreed to extend the definition to include anyone who requests a voluntary donation to a nonprofit organization.

Council also approved a measure to make it illegal for anyone to place "unsolicited written materials," such as weekly advertisement packages on lawns or driveways.

A March 19 staff report by the City Attorney's Office said numerous residents have complained that unsolicited written materials often are left on driveways and lawns for extended periods, becoming "a visual blight, increased litter and a burden on the residents and the city alike in having to pick up the materials."

The new ordinance, effective 30 days after passage, would require the materials be "securely attached" to a front door, placed in a front door mail slot, between an exterior front door and interior front door, in a distribution box, on a mailbox hook or delivered personally to a resident.

Violators, including employers of delivery persons, could be fined up to $250.

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