Mayor’s Message: Knock, Knock

In this week’s Mayor’s Message, Mayor Louis Manzo discusses the “No-Knock” registry.

If I took a poll, my guess is that most of you don’t like door-to-door solicitations and would favor the township placing a ban on such activity.

As often is the case, our jurisdiction must adhere to state and federal guidelines that supersede our authority. A recent Supreme Court ruling forced us to amend our local ordinance pertaining to solicitations in late 2018. That amendment now allows for door-to-door solicitations from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, as the Supreme Court ruling dictates. We weren’t particularly happy with this directive, but we must adhere to this federal law, or be subject to litigation.
To re-establish some hometown control, we then proceeded to draft a new local ordinance that creates a “No-Knock Registry” for Harrison Township.

Effective Jan. 1, residents who no longer wish to receive door-to-door visits from vendors and solicitors are invited to sign up for Harrison Township’s newly created No-Knock registry. This allows all residents to register with the township clerk, indicating that they do not want hawkers, peddlers, solicitors or canvassers to approach their homes and/or seek contact with the occupants of the registered home.

Annual registration can be completed through a form made available in the township clerk’s office. Or, go to the homepage of the township website to retrieve the form (http://harrisontwp.us/are-you-tired-of-solicitors-knocking-at-your-door/). The annual registration fee is $5 upon annual registration, the clerk’s office will provide a self-adhering sticker which should be prominently displayed at the entrance to your home. The clerk’s office will maintain the “No-Knock” registry and provide it to vendors and solicitors who apply for solicitation permits pursuant to Chapter 155 of the Harrison Township Code. They must inspect the list and cannot approach any residence on the list, or face a fine of up to $1,250.00, 90 days in prison or 90 days community service.
It should be noted that registration in the “No-Knock” registry does not prohibit door-to-door solicitations by non-profit, charitable, religious or political organizations as these types of solicitations are protected by the First Amendment. Also, certain laws, such as the Open Public Records Act, may cause the list of registrants to be available for public inspection upon request.

Once you complete the No-Knock registry application form, as directed, your name will be added to the registry and a sticker will be mailed back to you indicating you are a “no-knock” resident.

We know that once the weather breaks, we may see more solicitation activity, which is why we’ve taken this action to provide our residents with an option to address it.

Knock, knock…who’s there? Not an unwanted solicitation if you sign up for the No-Knock registry.