Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Cold Spring no-knock law starts next month

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COLD SPRING - Unwanted solicitors could soon face fines if they approach residents listed on this Campbell County city's new "no-knock" list.

Mayor Mark Stoeber said the law takes effect by mid-March.

Similar to "no-call" lists for telemarketers, a no-knock list provides door-to-door solicitors with addresses of people who don't want salespeople coming to their door. Residents in this city of 3,806 can sign up for Cold Spring's list at the city building on East Alexandria Pike. Once the law takes effect, residents also can pick up a special "no-knock" sticker for their front door or window.

Cold Spring City Council joined a growing number of communities Monday when its members voted 5 - 1 to approve a no-knock law.

The law is modeled after one in Villa Hills. Since Villa Hills' law took effect on Nov. 1, 170 people have signed up. So far, no one has been cited.

Under Cold Spring's law, offenders face a $50 fine for the first offense and a $100 fine for each subsequent offense, City Attorney Brandon Voelker said.

Some people began calling city officials to get on the list even before council approved it.

"I think the calls we've had in the past have generally been from older people who are afraid to open their door to strangers," said Cold Spring City Clerk Carole Huber.

Voelker and Cold Spring Council Member Lou Gerding suggested a no-knock law after reading about Villa Hills' legislation. That Kenton County city took the idea from Erlanger.

Northern Kentucky supporters of no-knock laws have said they're responding to residents' concerns about solicitors who drop vanloads of young adults in communities to sell magazines or cleaning solutions.

Individuals and groups who register to sell door-to-door in Cold Spring will be told about the law," Stoeber said.

Because of free-speech rights, the law cannot apply to religious groups or politicians.

Although groups such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts legally cannot be exempted from "no-knock" laws, Stoeber said Cold Spring police won't react unless they first get a complaint.


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