A possible do-not-knock registry in Reynoldsburg has been halted by City Council's public-service and transportation committee, which voted March 25 to remove the proposal from its agenda.
Committee members Caleb Skinner, Stacie Baker and Kristin Bryant voted in favor of the action. Committee Chairman Brett Luzader was opposed.
Like a do-not-call registry, the legislation Luzader first proposed in early March would have created a voluntary registry for residents.
The proposal called for a list of participants to be given to all solicitors with valid city permits and published online; and for a sticker or decal to be given to residents to post on their doors to signify they were on the do-not-knock list.
The legislation would have exempted certain types of solicitation, such as charity or political groups.
"If it keeps one or two residents from getting taken advantage of ... to me, it's worth it," Luzader said.
While nearly everyone agreed that unwanted solicitors are often a springtime nuisance, other committee members questioned a registry's effectiveness and whether it would require additional staff to maintain.
Instead, they said, a greater emphasis should be placed on educating the public.
"I wouldn't know what a solicitors' license is supposed to look like, and I'm on council," Baker said. "This doesn't add any new penalties. It's just a false sense of security. I understand the idea ... but I don't think it's going to work any better than a do-not-call list."
Reynoldsburg issues about 100 solicitors' permits a year, Public Service Director Bill Sampson said.
Door-to-door salespeople are required by city law to pay $15 for a two-week permit. Permits for aggressive, unlicensed or "rogue solicitors" can be denied or revoked, Sampson said.
Salespeople who violate Reynoldsburg's existing ordinance can face criminal charges, City Attorney Jed Hood said. Reynoldsburg has prosecuted at least one aggressive solicitor in the last few years and typically gets complaints as the weather warms up, he said.
The first offense is typically a minor misdemeanor but a second or repeated offense is a misdemeanor, Hood said.
"The complaint most often is someone soliciting without a permit," he said. "If they continue, and we find out about it, they can be summoned to mayor's court."
Residents are encouraged to report aggressive or unlicensed solicitors to the public service department.
"You have the right to ask them for their permit," Councilman Marshall Spalding said. "I think a lot of folks don't know that. The more people that say 'No' at the door will drive those types of vendors away faster than anything."
Luzader said he used Whitehall's 2018 do-not-knock registry as a starting point for the Reynoldsburg proposal.
In addition to Whitehall, Hilliard and Prairie Township in Franklin County and Orange Township in Delaware County all maintain similar registries. Dublin provides residents with "no solicitors" stickers and city law states that permit-holders must respect such requests.