Door-to-door salespeople may soon have to register with the Conway Police Department to do business inside the city.
The Conway City Council will discuss an ordinance that would require "soliciting persons, hawkers, and peddlers" to be cleared by CPD and pay a nominal fee for a yearly peddling license. This would include Scouts selling cookies and popcorn and high school students selling candy bars.
"We’ve got to treat everybody the same, so that means whatever we ask of the Fuller Brush Man we’ve got to ask of the girl scouts too," City Attorney Mike Murphy said. The ordinance is a "model" drafted by the International Municipal Lawyer’s Association, Murphy said.
For scouts or class sales, the leader of the organization or group can register on behalf of all solicitors under 18.
Ordinances that limit door-to-door solicitation often turn out to be unconstitutional restraints on First-Amendment commercial speech when challenged in the courts system. Generally, a city has to demonstrate that there is a safety or privacy problem with unlicensed solicitors and that the ordinance is the least intrusive way to solve the problem.
There have been at least two incidents of overly aggressive, "pushy" or otherwise suspicious door-to-door peddlers reported to Conway Police this year.
Conway’s ordinance includes a number of exceptions, the most important of which is not requiring any license for people going door-to-door to "enlist support for or against a particular religion, philosophy, ideology, political party, issue, or candidate, even if incidental to such purpose the canvasser accepts the donation of money."
Under the ordinance, any door-to-door solicitors would have to fill out an application to be provided by CPD and answer questions about criminal history and what they want to peddle. If approved, they’ll be issued a photo ID tag to wear while they’re peddling.
Religious, ideological and political canvassers can also get an ID made "for the purpose of assuring city residents of the canvasser’s good faith," according to the ordinance.
The ordinance in its current form has a blank for the amount of money a peddling license would cost. Murphy said that city hall’s recommendation is either that the licenses be free or at "a nominal cost" of $5 or $10 to cover the cost of paperwork and ID tags.
In other business, the council will talk about the upcoming 6-month review of a conditional use permit for the Phoenix Recovery transitional housing facility. Phoenix Recovery houses men with histories of substance abuse, but no history of crimes involving violence, robbery, sex or guns.
The council will also vote on spending about $107,000 in General Fund money to upgrade or replace a number of city computers, mostly at the police department, that still use the Windows XP operating system. XP will be "orphaned’ by Microsoft next month, meaning no more security updates.
Other agenda items include:
• A resolution setting a public hearing to discuss the closing of (4) fifteen foot utility easements located in the Tommy Lewis Addition Phase 2;
• The nomination of Dwayne Young to the Conway Housing Authority Board andd the nomination of Reggie Rose to the Advertising and Promotion Commission;
• Consideration of a supplemental engineering agreement with Garver to include full time inspection during the Western Loop Sturgis Road Overpass Construction;
• Consideration of a request from Lewis Cross Development (Old Sale Barn Site) to pay in lieu fee in place of sidewalks and bike lanes;
• An ordinance authorizing additional personnel within the Conway Street Department.
• An ordinance appropriating funds for cost associated with repairs to the Honda Civic for the Planning Department;
• A Resolution amending the Master Street Plan in the Old Cantrell Field/Central Landing Area;
An ordinance amending the Conway Subdivision ordinance to require additional right of way as needed for roundabouts;
• Approval of the 2014 CDBG Allocations;
• Bids for a 2014 commercial rear load refuse truck & 2014 automated side loading refuse truck for the Conway Sanitation Department;
• An ordinance authorizing personnel changes within the Conway Fire Department;
• Disposal of certain inventory within various departments for the City; and
• Approving monthly financials ending Feb. 28, 2014.