Hopewell Township has established a do-not-solicit registry to aid residents concerned about solicitors approaching their residences and/or businesses.
The Township Committee unanimously voted in favor of amending the township’s solicitation ordinance at a meeting on Sept. 19. It establishes a do-not-solicit list that residents can now sign up to be on.
“What we did see over the summer was an increase in resident outreach regarding door-to-door commercial sales as well as, some concerns about safety and privacy,” Committeeman David Chait said.
“What this ordinance does is establish a do-not-solicit registry, so that residents and businesses can opt out of commercial peddling and solicitations.”
Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger, Chait, Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski, and Committeewoman Uma Purandare voted “yes” to adopt the ordinance.
“Just having a sign up that says no solicitors does not put you under this ordinance. You have to put your name on the do-not-solicit list in order to have it apply, which is free of charge,” Ruger said. “You do not have to have a sign that says no solicitors, because as long as you are on the list you are covered.”
Chait noted that residents and businesses will have the ability to obtain a decal from the Clerk’s Office that can be placed on any door or entrance way that shows no solicitation is wanted.
“By simply putting yourself on the do-not-solicit registry, no commercial peddler or solicitor can come to your property,” he said. “All taken together, this ordinance helps provide and protect the privacy, as well as the safety and security of residents and businesses.”
To solicit in the township, a solicitor or peddler has to obtain a solicitor’s permit.
Chief of Police James Rosso and the Hopewell Township Police Department will review information and investigate a solicitor’s permit.
Ways to revoke solicitor’s licenses include: fraud, misrepresentation or false statements; conviction of any crime or misdemeanor; and conducting solicitation and peddling in an unlawful manner, according to the ordinance.
The police department will be responsible for enforcement.
Permitted peddlers and solicitors are allowed to peddle and solicit between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Miccio said solicitors will be aware of those addresses that are on the do not solicit list.
Those exempt from the ordinance: delivery of goods and merchandise and religious organizations. Officials also said the ordinance will not stop the Girl Scouts from selling cookies.
“This [ordinance] does not apply to your general delivery of goods from Amazon or fill-in the blank [business just dropping something off]. That does not count under this ordinance,” Miccio said.
“Also, solicitations on behalf of charitable organizations, or religious purposes or political activity does not fall under this ordinance.”
Two statutory exemptions include those honorably discharged from their military service and those who are volunteer firefighters.
“There are specific state statutes that apply to them, and they have to go through the county to acquire that license,” Miccio said.