‘No knock’ law to have public hearing March 5


Staff Writer

FREEHOLD – The Borough Council is ready to act on an ordinance that has been designed to allow residents not to be disturbed by solicitors who are going door to door.

The ordinance will have a public hearing and possible vote for adoption at the council’s March 5 meeting.

Residents will be permitted to place their name on a municipal no-knock list, and people who apply to solicit in town will be given that list before heading out onto Freehold’s streets.

The list will inform them of properties where residents have asked not to be disturbed.

Councilman Marc Le Vine compared the council’s proposed no-knock list to the federal no-call list that permits residents to avoid receiving telephone solicitations.

A commercial solicitor, canvasser, peddler or hawker is defined in the ordinance as one “traveling by foot, automobile or any other type of conveyance from place to place, house to house, or street to street, to distribute circulars for business or commercial purposes.”

Other approaches include selling real estate, taking orders for the sale of goods or personal property, or for services. Anyone taking a poll or a survey from house to house or on the streets, or distributing advertisements or handbills is also included.

A section of the ordinance also addresses charitable and political canvassing.

“Anyone going from house to house to interview, interact or inform another person or persons in an attempt to convince him or her to embrace or support or vote for a proposition, person, candidate, philosophy, idea, concept or organization” is also included in the ordinance.

The amendment will require anyone who wants to canvass or solicit in Freehold Borough to first obtain a license at a cost of $100. Persons engaged in political, charitable or philanthropic canvassing will not need to apply for a license or permit, but they will be required to register as canvassers with the Borough Clerk.

In an earlier version of the ordinance, political or charitable canvassers were required to apply for a permit and applicants were to be charged a $10 one-time processing fee. That stipulation has been deleted from the ordinance that will be the subject of the March 5 public hearing, according to Borough Attorney Kerry Higgins.

In addition to the license or permit, every applicant will be required to wear a photo identification badge that will identify the person as a licensed commercial solicitor. All canvassing or soliciting must take place between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

The Borough Clerk will prepare a list of addresses where the owner and/or occupants have notified the clerk that canvassing and soliciting is not permitted on the premises. The clerk must provide the non-solicitation list to all applicants who are seeking a license or who register for commercial, charitable, political or philanthropic solicitation.

Anyone found to be violating the law will have his license or permit revoked and, if convicted, will be subject to a penalty not to exceed $1,250 or imprisonment for 90 days.