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Bell Acres Targets Unwanted Solicitation

The borough plans to consider revamping regulations.

Residents who don’t want to be bothered at home with a stranger on their front stoop could soon have some protection in .

Council members plan to consider an ordinance that would limit door-to-door solicitation in the borough to certain hours and provide more specific rules for soliciting.

Bell Acres Manager Charles Kulbacki said the borough’s current ordinance is too vague and open to interpretation.

"It's not very good," he said.

He said the borough requires solicitors to get a permit with the borough. Warmer, spring weather typically brings an increase of requests from door-to-door solicitors, and Kulbacki said he wants to make sure proper rules are in place for next year.

He gave council members a sample ordinance to review and come back next month to offer what they like or don't want.

One idea is to give residents "no soliciting" decals that can be posted in clear view near the entrances of the home letting solicitors know they should move on. 

Council President Dennis Young called the matter a safety issue. Elderly residents or someone’s wife who is home alone in the evenings simply may not want someone coming to the door unannounced, he said.

"Every night you hear on the news, home invasion, home invasion, home invasion," Young said.

Bell Acres Solicitor Robert Junker said the council can't outright ban solicitations and couldn't limit the hours too extensively.

"Canvassers and solicitors still have to be able to talk to people when they're home," Junker said, but there is nothing to stop council from giving residents no soliciting signs and giving canvassers a list of those off-limit places.

"They can be cited for violation of this ordinance," Junker said.

Any approved ordinance would exclude direct mailings, and Kilbacki said volunteers such as the fire department handing out fliers or non-profit groups such as selling cookies and students raising money for a class trip also would not be affected.

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