City council OKs change in peddler ordinance 2012.10.24

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Morenci city council members approved an ordinance amendment Monday regrading solicitors and peddlers, but it took the mayor’s final vote to get the measure through.

Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks brought the topic to council’s attention several weeks ago, expressing a concern that the old ordinance—requiring a licensing procedure with the police department—implies the city’s approval of a peddler.

Council worked with attorney Fred Lucas to come up with a new ordinance, but soon learned that courts have ruled it illegal to ban door-to-door sales and discriminate against certain groups. For example, the city could not ban all sales except local school groups.

A proposed ordinance came up for a vote Monday, but the vote ended in a 3-3 tie until Morenci mayor Keith Pennington joined the dissenters.

The proposal called for an eight-point registration process that councilor Brenda Spiess opposed. Jeff Bell stated that the registration process shifts the burden from the police department to the city clerk. Pennington agreed, adding that it still sounds as though the city is qualifying that sellers are legitimate.

Spiess, Bell and Pennington were joined by Robert Jennings in opposing the amendment.

On the other hand, said supporter Tracy Schell, the city will have no information about the various groups going door to door without the registration process.

Chief Weeks said his department receives calls from citizens wondering if sellers are legitimate, but generally the police aren’t even aware of the groups until someone calls. There’s an expectation, he said, that police will investigate the peddlers.

Schell was joined by Greg Braun and Rebecca Berger in voting for the amendment. 

Spiess then made a motion to pass the amendment without the registration process and vote was 4-3 in favor.

Schell expressed her disappointment, stating, “I think we’re showing even less concern. It’s a bad thing to show the public.”

Spiess said the responsibility of dealing with peddlers should rest with the homeowner and not the City. She suggested investing in a “No Solicitation” sign if a resident doesn’t want to deal with peddlers.

As approved, the amendment’s purpose is listed this way: “Door-to-door solicitation and aggressive panhandling within the City of Morenci has become a public nuisance by putting into jeopardy the physical safety and economic well being of the residents and visitors of the City of Morenci.”

The language continues to state that it will bar “unwanted solicitations and aggressive panhandling” to provide a safe physical environment.

Aggressive panhandling includes touching another person without that person’s consent, blocking the path of a person, continuing to solicit after a refusal, making remarks that could make a person feel threatened into making a donation, and soliciting within 20 feet of an automated teller machine or a bank entrance.

The ordinance prohibits aggressive panhandling and soliciting at a residence or business posting a sign “indicating in any manner that the occupants of the premises do not desire to have their privacy disturbed.”

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016