We have all experienced the unwelcome solicitor knocking on our door and roaming our neighborhood. A new ordinance passed by the Oviedo City Council on March 2, 2009 is the result of the continued increase in aggressive solicitation, peddling and canvassing throughout the City that has become disruptive to citizens and has contributed to an increased sense of anxiety and tension in residential neighborhoods. The increase in unwanted solicitation and peddling in residential areas is reflected in the increasing number of calls from Oviedo citizens. The number of solicitor/peddler complaints received by the Oviedo Police Department increased by 25% between 2007 and 2008, however, only 4 of the complaints resulted in police contact with the solicitor/peddler.
While the City recognizes the constitutional rights of persons to conduct solicitation and peddling activity in a peaceful and nonthreatening manner, there is an apparent need to balance those rights with a reasonable level of regulation, including registration and permitting requirements. The ordinance makes some exceptions: service repairmen responding to service calls, prearranged service delivery (licensed vendors), pre-arranged salespersons, boy scouts, girl scouts and schools groups chaperoned by an adult for sanctioned fund raising, candidates (and persons working for the candidate) for elected office.
The Solicitors and Peddlers Ordinance provides for definitions and exceptions while providing for a comprehensive regulation and permitting process. Solicitors and Peddlers will also be required to obtain a license and identification card through the Police Department. The Ordinance also sets forth the following prohibitions and restrictions that would make it unlawful for any solicitor or peddler to:
- Enter the property or premises of a private resident for the purpose of selling or soliciting orders for goods, wares or merchandise, personal services or information when a “No Solicitors” or “No Solicitation” sign is posted.
- Remain upon any residential premises after the owner or occupant requests the solicitor to depart.
- Conduct business between 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. or at any time on Sundays.
- To approach back, rear or side doors of a residential premise.
- To refuse or fail to exhibit his solicitor’s permit and personal identification upon request of any citizen or law enforcement agent.
The Ordinance also contains an enforcement provision that provides the City with the ability to enforce the provisions of the Ordinance by any lawful means. This includes, but is not limited to, issuing a civil notice of infraction, bringing violations before a citizen-appointed Infractions Board and seeking injunctive and equitable relief.
If you observe a solicitor or peddler with no visible identification in your neighborhood, call the Police Department’s non-emergency phone at 407-971-5700. This nonemergency phone number should also be used for reporting any other types of suspicious behavior.