Door-to-door salesman meeting

The Town of Lovell and the Lovell Police Dept. are considering a new ordinance regulating door-to-door salesmen, and they are seeking citizen input on the proposal in the form of a public meeting next Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Lovell Community Center.

The draft ordinance under consideration would regulate three types of sales: peddlers, solicitors and transient merchants – those who temporarily set up a trailer, vehicle, portable shelter or any other storefront for less than 90 days.

Chief of Police Nick Lewis said he became concerned about door-to-door salesmen when home security salesmen were canvassing the town earlier this year and were misrepresenting their product, even saying the chief had purchased a system himself.

He discussed the matter with the town council, who asked Town Attorney Sandra Kitchen to draft an ordinance.

Lewis said a peddler is someone who carries his wares door to door for sale, while a solicitor is someone who goes door to door taking orders. A peddler, Lewis said, could be someone selling meat or fruit door to door – or even youths selling sports discount cards like the Bulldog Cards.

He said Girl Scouts taking orders for cookies could be considered to be solicitors.

A transient merchant is someone who temporarily sets up a business out of a vehicle, trailer, boxcar, tent or other portable shelter or temporary storefront to sell an item, not remaining in the location for more than 90 consecutive days. The ordinance would cover merchants from barbecue trailers to fireworks stands.

Because of the ordinance’s possible impact on local organizations, groups, schools and merchants, Lewis is asking anyone interested to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Asked who should come, Lewis replied, “Anyone who plans to sell any product door to door or set up a temporary site to sell anything.”

The so-called Green River Ordinance prohibited door-to-door selling for many years in Wyoming, but the law has been shown in court to be unenforceable, Lewis said, noting, “Right now we have nothing.”

“We have a draft ordinance, but we want to take it before the people for comment,” he said. “We haven’t even had first reading yet. We want citizen input.”

Lewis said he will have a PowerPoint presentation at Tuesday’s meeting with all of the pertinent information about the draft ordinance. Those who cannot attend the meeting but would like to comment can e-mail Lewis at lovellpolice@yahoo.com. The comments that come to Lewis before Tuesday’s meeting will be read at the meeting, he said.

It is difficult to regulate solicitors, Lewis said, because of federal laws relating to interstate commerce, but he said the town can ask solicitors, peddlers and transient merchants to register with the town. Peddlers and transient merchants would be required to apply for a license at least 10 business days before conducting business.

The ordinance would require a license fee of $35 for up to 90 days or an annual fee of $140.

There are several exceptions in the draft ordinance for such things as non-commercial religious or political advocates, wholesale-to-retail sales, sales of perishable food and dairy products, delivery of newspapers or other publications on an established route, garage sales, craft fairs and licensed auctioneers.

By David Peck

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