Clovis News

Clovis sets limits on door-to-door solicitation

Clovis is putting new rules in place to reduce solicitation of residents by limiting hours of door-to-door salespeople and requiring registration.

The City Council voted 4-1 Monday night for the new rules, which were sparked by a string of complaints from residents about aggressive salespeople.

Clovis police Capt. Drew Bessinger said the city wants to address cases where vans drop off sales groups in neighborhoods.

The city has found that those companies do not have Clovis business licenses, he said.

Clovis police regularly receive complaints from residents about door-to-door salespeople becoming overly aggressive.

To keep tabs on solicitors, the new ordinance requires business owners who employ door-to-door salespeople to register with police and limits solicitation hours to between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The solicitation ordinance also addresses people who use street medians to raise money, ranging from panhandlers to groups that hold car wash fundraisers.

Solicitors also will not be able to seek money at bus stops, in public transportation vehicles, in parking lots and at other locations, including standing in line to buy event tickets.

Bessinger said people soliciting in medians create hazards because they distract motorists, he said.

"This will allow officers to pull up and ask people to get out of the median," he said.

The proposal requires one permit for large groups that are selling items for fundraisers, including Girl Scouts or schools.

They can register with the city, but anyone older than 16 is expected to carry a registration permit.

Council Member Bob Whalen voted against the proposal, saying the council approved a broad plan for a problem that is more narrow.

"It's just an example of the government overreaching when it's a small problem," he said. "We don't need more laws. We just have to be sure people act more responsibly."

But the city can't exempt one group while regulating another, said David Wolfe, Clovis city attorney.

"In order to have it legally defensible, we have to apply it across the board," he said.

The new rules will go into effect May 20, Wolfe said.