City of Westfield proposing changes to solicitation ordinance to avoid lawsuit

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WESTFIELD, Ind.– Westfield’s city council is considering making changes to its solicitation ordinance.

It was introduced on Monday night during the council’s meeting. Mayor Andy Cook said the city is trying to avoid a lawsuit.

Right now, homeowner associations can put up “No Soliciting” signs to tell solicitors they can’t knock on doors in the neighborhood. Mayor Cook said one company believes that rule can not be enforced and was unconstitutional.

“It is our duty to look at how we can avoid a very long and expensive lawsuit,” he said. “We may have people living in neighborhoods who want solicitors, theoretically. And yet their whole neighborhood has said we do not want solicitation.”

The proposal introduced on Monday night would enforce a “no knock” list that residents can sign up for. You can register by clicking here. However, it can not be enforced until the Westfield City Council approves the change to the ordinance.

“If you are on our list, when a solicitor goes to our clerk’s office they are given that list of what addresses you may not call upon,” Mayor Cook said.

One homeowner in Westfield said he liked the idea. Recently, he said a solicitor rang their doorbell three times in one afternoon.

“At least in our neighborhood we have a no solicitor sign but we have solicitors that come through,” said Keith Owens. “I like that the city is looking out for residents and trying to make something that works for residents and hopefully the solicitors as well.”

In addition to a “no knock” list, the proposal would change the time solicitors must stop knocking. The amendment says solicitation must stop at dusk instead of 7 p.m.

“Dusk is very ambiguous and I am not sure what that even means. Is that when the sun goes down? Is that once it is dark outside? I think that could be at least 10 o’clock on the longer days in the summer. I think anyone would agree that is too late to be knocking,” Owens said.

Overall, Owens likes that the idea because he said it puts control in the residents’ hands.

Residents can still keep “No Soliciting” signs on their property. You can pick up a free sign from the Westfield Police Department or print one off from the city’s website.

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