A CLOSER LOOK: Soliciting allowed in NWA; Fayetteville provides ‘No Soliciting’ signs

A Closer Look

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA) — Cities across Northwest Arkansas allow door-to-door solicitors, but the City of Fayetteville helps residents refuse solicitors.

While the City of Fayetteville allows door-to-door solicitors to operate in the city, residents can obtain signs and decals from the city to prevent solicitors from coming to their home.

“The only conditions [for door-to-door soliciting] relate to single family residences,” said Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams. “Generally, if a citizen doesn’t want to have to face door-to-door solicitors, then they need to get a decal or sign from the city’s planning department that states no solicitors.”

Cities cannot restrict door-to-door solicitors because of a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that deemed door-to-door soliciting constitutional.

“They’ve restricted our regulatory power to where it’s almost useless,” Williams said. “But we can protect landowner rights.”

The City of Fayetteville helps protect landowner rights by providing “No Soliciting” decals and signs to homeowners who want them.

“[Landowners] have a right to say who can come onto their property; it’s really up to the landowner to give us the right to protect them,” Williams said. “They can also put up a ‘No Trespassing’ sign if they want to. That should pretty well protect their rights also.”

It costs $40 to obtain a principal solicitor/peddler permit in Fayetteville. Permits in addition to the principal permit cost $5 each. The permits expire on Dec. 31 of the year that the permit is issued, according to Fayetteville’s municipal code.

Fayetteville’s code states that door-to-door solicitors can only operate between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. The code also states that solicitors are restricted from homes that have decals or signs stating “no soliciting/no peddling,” “no peddlers,” “no solicitors,” “no trespassing” or similar wording.

The City of Bentonville allows solicitors to sell door-to-door from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the weekend, according to Sgt. Gene Page, public information officer for the Bentonville Police Department.

“With our program, they can come to the Police Department to get a city permit,” Page states.

The solicitor has to provide city officials identification and information about their business to obtain a one-year soliciting permit, according to Page.

The city issues permitted solicitors a solicitor pass card and lanyard so the card is visible to residents. The pass has a number on it that they can be verified by, Page said.

“That way if they go to a residence in Bentonville, that resident can call us to verify if the salesperson is legitimate,” Page said.

The City of Centerton only allows solicitors to solicit door-to-door up to 7 p.m.

“They can go after 7 p.m. by appointment only or if there is a sign on the door saying come back at a later time,” said Leana Stinson, office administrative assistant for Centerton.

Centerton charges solicitors $50 for the principal permit holder and $5 for each additional permit holder. The permit lasts 60 days and can be renewed for free if it’s renewed within the 60 day period, according to Stinson.

Centerton gets more solicitors in the summer, Stinson said.

“[That’s] because college kids are out of school trying to make some money,” Stinson said.

Door-to-door solicitors in Centerton sell a variety of products and services, including solar panels, home security, lawn care and pest control, Stinson said.

The City of Springdale allows door-to-door soliciting from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during regular standard time and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during daylight savings time, according to Springdale’s ordinance concerning door-to-door soliciting.

Solicitors in Springdale must be carrying a city-issued soliciting permit, visible photo ID and a copy of the ordinance while soliciting, the ordinance states.

Springdale prohibits solicitors from soliciting at residences that have decals or signs stating “no soliciting/no peddling,” “no peddlers,” “no solicitors,” “no trespassing” or similar wording.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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