Door-to-door solicitors coming this summer

FLINT TWP. — As the summer season gets underway, look for at least two organizations to be making door-todoor rounds in coming weeks.

One is Comcast/Xfinity whose application for a peddler’s license was approved by the township board this week.

The other is the Seventh Day Adventist Church which submitted a courtesy notice to the township clerk informing her that it is exempt from the requirement to obtain a peddler’s license.

The board voted 4-2 to accept the Comcast application. Trustee Tom Klee was absent.

Funk said she did not like door-to-door sales out of consideration for senior citizens but Comcast had furnished all documentation and paid all fees required by the township’s peddler’s ordinance. Frank Kasle, who made the motion to approve the application, said at least they would be operating during reasonable hours and not approaching homes after dark.

According to its application, Comcast solicitors operating hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from July 1 to October 1.

Documentation, including driver’s licenses ,was provided for three workers who will be hawking TV (video), internet, phone and home security services.

Funk said that the solicitors will be given a license on township letterhead that must be displayed to any resident who asks to see it. She also said that the salespeople will be given a list of residents who have signed up with the township to not have solicitors coming to their door. Township residents have also been advised in the past to prominently post “no solicitation” notices on doors and mailboxes.

The situation is different with the Seventh Day Adventist Church which issued a notice last month that its Family Health and Education Resources ministry would be conducting door-to-door visits in the township, starting June 4 through August 11. Their stated hours of operation from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. concerned some township board members about them approaching homes that late into the evening.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said she would look into asking the group to abide by the township’s peddler’s ordinance hours. Tracey Tucker, township building director and deputy clerk, said it would be a violation of the law to place restrictions on the group which is claiming religious freedom.

The letter to the township clerk from the Seventh Day Adventist Church Michigan Conference Headquarters, acknowledged awareness that some communities have ordinances restricting doorto door sales but the Supreme Court has ruled that door-to-door advocacy is protected under the First Amendment.

“The Court has been particularly suspicious of any prior restraint on these activities such as requiring a permit or registration process,’” stated the letter from Kamil Metz, Literature Ministries director.

“We believe our evangelistic activities fall squarely within the protected zone of the First Amendment. Unless we hear differently, we do not plan on applying for any permit or registering prior to beginning our missionary work.”

The letter also stated that student evangelists would be conducting the door-to-door free literature distribution, holding prayer, enrollment in Bible Studies and seeking donations to support the program. All will carry radios or cell phones to maintain contact with the program leader.

Clerk Funk was asked to fax a signed confirmation form that she had received the notice. It was signed on May 17.

Trustee Tom Klee commented that he did not want to sound negative but had concerns about door-to-door solicitors knocking on the door of his elderly neighbors up to 9 p.m.

Residents who do not want to be bothered by door-to-door salespeople, excepting religious groups, have the recourse of not answering the door, posting “no solicitation” stickers and adding their address to the township’s no soliciting list.

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