Olive Branch City Hall

Churches and other such organizations can continue knocking on doors and spreading the Word, but door-to-door meat sales solicitors and other similar sales are now required to get a permit if they want to continue using that method of selling in Olive Branch.

In addition, those who might solicit money and go from car to car at intersections in Olive Branch will now not be able to do that anymore. That’s because state statutes already regulate the action.

Those revisions come after action Tuesday night from the Olive Branch Board of Aldermen.

Board members voted to repeal the 2006 Right-of-Way Solicitation Ordinance and amend the Door-to-Door Solicitation Ordinance, on recommendation of City Attorney Bryan Dye and Police Chief Don Gammage.

Dye said the revision in the door-to-door solicitation ordinance applies only to commercial vendors, not nonprofit organizations selling to raise money for their programs or causes.

“The revision makes it clear that the ordinance applies only to commercial door-to-door solicitation, as opposed to non-commercial solicitation, which may be more in the nature of delivery of a religious message or of a political message and things of that nature,” Dye said after Tuesday’s meeting. “It is the commercial solicitation that the city constitutionally has authority to regulate a little more stringently than it does the other forms of speech.”

Dye said anyone wanting to do commercial door-to-door sales must come to City Hall and and submit to a background check. They will also need to get a permit to sell, a permit which comes at no cost to them from the city.

“The city does restrict door-to-door solicitation to people who have had any felony convictions within the past 10 years,” Dye said. “It’s a public safety ordinance. It’s doesn’t regulate speech on the basis of the content of the speech or the content of what they may perhaps be selling.”

The ordinance also sets the hours of the day people may come knocking at the doorstep and that the people who approach are not recent criminals.

The Right-of-Way Solicitation Ordinance repeal was done because state law is clear about what can be done and not be done at intersections.

“It is illegal to obstruct a roadway and sidewalks,” Dye said about the state statutes. “The city had an ordinance to protect pedestrians and to prohibit exchanges between pedestrians and cars so you wouldn’t have high-risk interaction between pedestrians and vehicles.”

Gammage and Dye felt the state laws were enough and there was no need for an added city ordinance covering the same thing.

Both actions came on unanimous votes.

In other action, the board approved the minutes of the Nov. 20 meeting, a vote that put in motion the process toward possible annexation of land consisting of the Center Hill, Pleasant Hill, Cedar View and Lewisburg areas.

The city now will file a petition to Chancery Court which will also set the dates for consideration and for a hearing which will be the time for opponents to be able to voice their concerns about the city’s action.

Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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