Written by Melissa Argueta Friday, 27 January 2012 00:00
Have you heard one too many knocks on your door in recent weeks? Several Garden City residents voiced concerns about the increase in solicitors coming to their homes at the Jan. 12 village board meeting at Village Hall.
The village’s door-to-door solicitation law states that “permits are required for door-to-door solicitation. Homeowners can file notices of objection at Village Hall requesting that salespeople or other solicitors not visit their houses. Permits are not required for religious, political or news distributions. However, the list of residents who request not to be visited must be complied with,” according to the village’s website.
During a period of public commentary at the meeting, 16-year resident Bob Bolebruch said the amount of solicitors allowed in Garden City needs to be cut down. “I find it amazing that in Garden City we constantly have these people coming to our doors. I give to the fire department, I give to the police department and for this board to continue to approve organizations to come to our homes if they are not from Garden City, this has got to stop some place,” he said.Bolebruch specifically mentioned safety as a main concern and asked if the board can do something about it. “With all of the things that we have in Garden City, we restrict putting structures in the front, we have all of the things that people come to love and come to want to protect about the look of Garden City, the amount of solicitors that we have in our village is off the charts,” he said.
Mayor Donald Brudie asked Bolebruch if he signed a non-solicitation form and said all solicitors are required to check the list. The resident responded, “When the solicitors are going from door to door to door, they’re walking up and down the block, they’re not sitting there looking up whether I signed a thing or not…and if they don’t check, what’s the difference because they are going to continue do it.”
Betsy Andromidas, a resident who said she is on the non-solicitation list, explained that three solicitors recently came to her house last week. She said the most recent incident happened on a rainy night. “When you’re home alone and some dude comes up to your house and is like leaning in your door, it’s a little disconcerting,” she told the board.
During that evening, Andromidas asked the solicitor if he checked the list and he told her that he did not. “I am on that list and…it really doesn’t matter. They come anyway. And, you know, the fire department, the police department, I welcome them coming but it’s all the other kids and the little kids with the plastic tubs running around banging on your door or having a picnic and eating the stuff in their tubs on your front lawn, I have a problem with that,” she added.
Police Commissioner Ernest J. Cipullo said that people coming to your door may not always be reputable and suggested residents call Garden City Police Department (516-465-4100) if they have any concerns.
“If you have any questions at all, that’s why we are there and we will take care of the situation,” he added.
Trustee Dennis Donnelly wanted the public to understand the board’s view on soliciting. “I don’t speak for everyone on the board but I believe no one on the board is in favor of solicitors. I think we question every single instance of someone applying to be a solicitor in the village,” Donnelly said.
He also clarified that soliciting is only for non-profit organizations. “We are required to allow certain groups to be able to solicit. I know in the time I’ve been on the board, a little more than three years, we’ve put the solicitors through the gauntlet so to speak. If their certificates aren’t up-to-date, if they don’t have this or don’t have that…We don’t make it easy but at the same time there are instances where we can’t turn people down. We don’t allow any commercial solicitors at all, ever,” Donnelly said.
Village Counsel Gerard Fishberg maintained that the village tries to restrict the hours and days that organizations can solicit. “The courts require that these people [solicitors] have the ability to reach you in your home during hours that people would normally be home, that’s why the hours are usually into the early evening so that people might be home.
“If you don’t want to be solicited, we have the ordinance, a no-solicitation ordinance, put your name on the list and if people come and solicit, call the police…if they keep on violating the list, they are going to wind up with a lot of tickets and that’s going to discourage them from violating the list.”
To obtain a form, entitled non-solicitation form, visit village hall or download the form on the village’s website, under the business office heading, at www.gardencityny.net.