Solicitors targeted by council

OXFORD - The Oxford City Council is trying again to limit door-to-door solicitors by proposing another ordinance change.

In February, the council members attempted to pass an ordinance that would prohibit solicitation for commercial and for-profit purposes at all residential and public institutional districts inside the city by barring fliers and other promotional items from being placed in or on mailboxes, on premises and on street rights of way other than being delivered through the U.S. Postal Service, newspaper delivery services or parcel delivery services.

However, City Attorney David Strickland informed the council members that they were not allowed to prohibit such activities, but they could regulate them.

In another effort to limit door-to-door sales - which originally was requested by the Oxford Police Department - the council is again attempting to amend another city ordinance.

At April's City Council meeting, Councilman Hoyt Oliver gave a first reading of the proposed changes to the Occupation Tax Ordinance.

The amendment adds that peddlers - defined in the ordinance as "any person who solicits for profit" - will be required to apply for an occupation tax license through the office of the city clerk and it will be issued upon approval of the Oxford City Council. The applications shall include the name, address and telephone number of the person making the application; a description of the type of business, product or service; the name, address, telephone number and Internet information of home office of business, if applicable; locations within the city where the peddling is proposed to be conducted; and the period of time during which peddling will be conducted, according to the ordinance.

The proposed ordinance change also states that the license will be valid for a period of two weeks from the beginning date specified on the license.

It also seeks to prohibit any solicitation within a residential neighborhood outside of the hours between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. and calls it unlawful for any person to solicit at a residence with a "no solicitors" sign in plain view. The ordinance also states that it is unlawful for a peddler not to immediately leave a premises at the resident's request.

The council will have a second reading of the ordinance at its next monthly meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 4.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.