After discussions both pro and con about the need to put greater restrictions on “solicitors and peddlers” knocking on doors, the City Council recently unanimously passed an ordinance to create a “do not solicit” list.
On June 3, the City Council found that “no solicitation” signs alone as well as the existing regulations were not adequate in preventing “undue annoyance” due to unwelcome solicitors.
The do not solicit ordinance addresses the issue by prohibiting solicitors from knocking on the doors of residencies on the list or face a $500 fine, according to city officials.
The new ordinance “adds an additional layer of protection to the citizen,” City Councilwoman Darlene Freed said.
The ordinance states: “The City Council endeavors to allow people to be free from interruption at home and to have comfort that unknown persons will not come up to their door and disturb them while at home with their families.”
This ordinance was created as an amendment to the existing city regulations of door-to-door solicitation in the Code of Ordinances, which requires solicitors to obtain permits and limits soliciting to between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The objective of these regulations is to protect the privacy of Grapevine residents and to prevent crime, city officials said.
The do not solicit list is available to Grapevine residents on the city’s website and each person issued a soliciting permit will receive a copy of the list.
Residents may register their address at http://bit.ly/1hJDdo5/ or by visiting the city secretary's office at 200 S. Main St.
This list will be published (without names or email addresses) each week by 3 p.m. on Monday. The first list was published June 16.
New solicitors will also receive a copy of the list when they are issued their ID badges.
When the issue was introduced, Councilwoman Sharron Spencer said she had “thought about it a good deal” and expressed concerns that it would tax the staff taking on the additional duties of managing a do not solicit list.
City Manager Bruno Rumbelow assured her that once the system was established, it would up to the citizens to go online and update the information.
“All we have to do it monitor it,” he said.
Spencer replied, “That changes it. Thank you.”
Councilman Chris Coy called combining the current door sign plan with the new one “an elegant solution.”
The City Council asked Police Chief Eddie Salame to address enforcement. He said it would be the same as in the past — that most calls to them would be “citizen driven.”
“We get a call and we’ll respond to it,” the police chief said.
He said in the past they have had to “take action” such as citations and jail, but that most times the solution “is educational.”
Groups that people already have a business relationship with are exempt and religious organizations — unless soliciting funds — are exempted by federal law.
Anyone under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a permitted adult at least 18 years of age to solicit within the city, unless they have been invited on to the premises by an occupant of the household. Solicitation regulations do not apply to a previously established sales connection, trade, service or other contractual relationship.
To remove your address from the list, email the city secretary’s office. Complaints regarding solicitors can be made to the Police Department at 817-410-8127.
For more information contact the city secretary’s office at 817-410-3182.