Friday, March 12, 2004

Ky. 'no-knock' communities expanding

Taylor Mill, Alexandria may curb sales

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Taylor Mill and Alexandria could soon join a growing number of Northern Kentucky cities slamming the door on pesky salespeople.

Officials in both cities are considering "no-knock" laws that would prohibit door-to-door solicitors from knocking on certain doors. Similar to the "no call" list for telemarketers, residents who don't want salespeople coming to their doors could put their names on a no-knock list.

On Wednesday, the Taylor Mill City Commission directed its legal counsel and City Administrator Jill Bailey to develop a no-knock ordinance for consideration on March 24. A vote would likely not occur until mid-April, Bailey said.

In neighboring Campbell County, Alexandria City Council is expected to decide between two no-knock proposals at its March 18 meeting.

Officials in the two cities said they got the idea from other Northern Kentucky suburbs. Erlanger adopted a no-knock law in 2002, Villa Hills approved one last fall and Cold Spring's takes effect this month. All have fines that escalate with repeated violations. The latter two cities also issue no-knock stickers that can be put on windows or doors.

"We're looking at two different versions - one that exempts politicians and (nonprofit) groups like the Girl Scouts and one that doesn't," said Alexandria Mayor Dan McGinley.

In other communities, lawyers who have researched the issue have said the more exemptions that governments allow, the higher the risk of free speech challenges, especially when it comes to politicians and religious groups.

Communities also can't ban door-to-door solicitation or set hours that are too restrictive, he said.

Most of the Northern Kentucky communities that have considered no-knock laws have a number of subdivisions where vanloads of salespeople often are dropped off to hawk their products. Still others say they want to allay the fears of older residents who are worried about strangers knocking on their doors.

"I'm a sales rep, but I don't like pesky salespeople," said Taylor Mill Mayor Mark Kreimborg, who sells medical disposables to doctors.

Kreimborg, who's going on his 15th year as mayor, figures his constituents have made dozens of complaints about door-to-door salespeople.

"I have no problem with people coming into our city and knocking on our doors as long as residents want that," Kreimborg said. "But we don't know who a lot of these people are or what they're selling. Some people worry about what their intentions are. They don't know if they're going to come back and rob them."


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