by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
SOUTH DAYTONA -- Door-to-door salespeople will have to shut down earlier, thanks to new restrictions on permitted hours of operation for home solicitations.
The City Council recently passed on second reading an ordinance amending city code to include hours of operation for home solicitation sales and a resolution establishing fines for noncompliance.
The ordinance allows solicitors, who can go door-to-door for sales calls if they have a permit from the county clerk of court and an occupational license from the city, to operate between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily, with no solicitations allowed on Sunday. Violators are charged a fine of $50 per incident.
While the city has received a number of complaints from residents involving home solicitation sales, City Manager Joseph Yarbrough said solicitors haven't been "a persistent problem" in the community.
"The reason we haven't run into fine problems is because whenever we ask them to stop, they stop," he said.
Before a person can engage in home solicitation sales in the city, they must obtain a permit from the county clerk of court. This, according to the clerk's website, requires applicants to apply in person at the clerk of court's DeLand office with a valid photo ID, two passport-type photos, and a fingerprint card completed by an authorized law enforcement agency. The county permit also requires a filing fee of $85, plus a $24 fee to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that covers a criminal background check.
After that, applicants must file with the city for a business license at a cost of $105.
Community Development Director John Dillard said it is possible for a solicitor to be fined multiple times a day -- and it's also possible that if someone is found to repeatedly violate the ordinance, that person's occupational license can be revoked.
"We can write them citations each time they're caught outside the hours," he said. "If they're repeat offenders, we can bring the (license) back to you guys and we can have it revoked so they can't participate in the city anymore. That's if they get too out of control."
Mr. Dillard added there would be leniency with home solicitation sales involving children, saying school football teams and Girl Scouts would not need a business license to go door-to-door.
Vice Mayor Nancy Long said she wanted to warn solicitors of the newly imposed hours of operation before hitting them with noncompliance fines.
"That's what I'm worried about," she said. "I don't want people hit with a fine if they haven't been given their due process."