Door-to-door sales OK’d

FLINT TWP. — Door to door sales permits continue to be an issue at township board meetings but moved toward a resolution Monday night.

The board voted unanimously to establish a three-person committee to review and revise the township’s peddling ordinance. Clerk Kim Courts, Treasurer Marsha Binelli and Trustee Frank Kasle will serve on the committee.

This action came after a discussion about the clerk’s role in approving applications for peddling licenses.

Clerk Courts recently granted a license that overturned the board’s 5-2 vote at its Sept. 3 meeting not to allow soliciting by Shy Enterprises Inc. of Ann Arbor. Shy, which sells vacuum cleaners and supplies was the fourth peddler’s license applicant in about as many months.

Courts has repeatedly asked the board to consider changing the ordinance to avoid wasting time of applicants who fulfill requirements of the licensing process but still get turned down by the board.

After the Sept. 3 meeting, Courts posted a public notice on the township’s web site that she had granted Shy a license to sell Kirby Cleaning Systems door-todoor between the hours of 10 am. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, effective until Dec. 3.

More recently, Courts also posted on the web site that she also granted a peddler’s license to Gregory M. Payter of Edward Jones Investments to solicit sales door to door for financial services and products.

Township Supervisor Karyn Clerk explained that Courts actions were taken after consulting the township attorney who said that the power to authorize the licenses lies with Courts and not the board.

Trustee George Menoutes asked if that was the case why it was placed on the agenda and the board asked to vote on it.

Courts responded because it has always been done that way.

Menoutes is among board members who have repeatedly voted down peddler’s applications. He has said previously that he does so out of concern for strangers approaching the homes elderly residents in the township.

He asked Courts if she had been “scared” into making the decision based on information provided by an attorney about law suits in other states resulting from denied peddling applicants.

Courts said she provided that information as a courtesy to the board and not because it had “scared” her.

“I do want to follow the ordinance, that is all I am doing at this point,” she said.

She said she was open to discussion about changing the township soliciting ordinance which led to Kasle making a motion to establish the review committee.

Door-to-door salespeople go through an extensive process to gain approval including fingerprinting and providing a recent photograph and driver’s license information and paying a fee.

At the Sept. 3 board meeting, the board looked at information from the township attorney about how solicitation is handled in other municipalities, particularly Frankenmuth Options included having the clerk maintain a list of residents who do not want solicitors coming to their door and/or instructing solicitors not to approach homes with a No Soliciting sign.

After approving two applicants in the past two weeks, Courts also posted on the web site a notice that “residents who are not interested in receiving solicitors, please purchase a sign and put on the door of your home.”

Menoutes asked that for a copy of the township’s soliciting ordinance. Miller noted that it is posted on the township’s web site under ordinances where anyone can read it.

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