By Ethan Marshall
During a dark and stormy Wednesday night, the Village of Kensington Board of Trustees reviewed and proposed revisions to a proposed law that seeks to limit solicitation without undermining the First Amendment rights of freedom of speech for such solicitors.
Under the current proposal, Kensington Village residents would have the option to register on the village’s website for their homes to be off-limits to solicitors. The residents would be put into the system instantly after applying on the website, according to Kensington Village Clerk Melissa McComb.
“There is no lag time for a resident to be put into the registry,” McComb said at the July 17 meeting.
Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin referred to the list of residents whose homes would be off limits to solicitors as the “Do not knock registry.” The resident of such a home would have the legal right to call the police on solicitors, who “would be subject to a summons and a fine of no more than $1,000” for violating the registry, according to McComb.
The board is strongly considering creating decals and giving them to residents enrolled in the “do not knock registry” so they could put them on their front doors or windows. Putting up the decal would be optional for the homeowners.
Solicitors would also need to apply for a soliciting permit, which would last one year. The cost of obtaining such a permit would be $250. Among the people legally listed as solicitors are door-to-door salespeople and religious organization members.
Other villages weighing changes to solicitation laws include Munsey Park, Old Westbury, North Hills and Roslyn Estates. Their moves come after a company that reached a settlement with the Village of Floral Park alerted them about unconstitutional restrictions in their codes.
At the end of the meeting, the board also made plans to issue a commendation to a local sanitation worker from Meadow Carting who got out of his truck to chase down and eventually catch a dog that had run away from its owner.
“It was a wonderful, feel good moment,” Lopatkin said in a previous call with the Great Neck News.
The ceremony has been scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m.
The next Kensington Board of Trustees meeting will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m., according to the agenda.
Janelle Clausen contributed reporting.